Vertebrate eye development
Ma, Li Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.
Jeffery, William R. Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.
Last reviewed:March 2019
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The developmental mechanisms and processes involved in the morphogenesis of the eyes of vertebrate animals. The vertebrate eye is an extraordinary organ (specifically, a photoreceptive sense organ) in terms of its structure, function, and development. Vision is acquired during embryonic development as a result of the coordinated formation and growth of several different eye tissues. The mature eye consists of anterior and posterior sectors (Fig. 1). The major parts of the anterior sector are the cornea, anterior chamber, iris, and crystalline lens. The posterior sector consists of the posterior chamber, retina, and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Eye tissues are derived from three different embryonic sources. The lens and the external part of the cornea originate from the surface ectoderm (the outer germ layer of an animal embryo). The interior part of the cornea and a part of the iris are derived from the neural crest. The retina, RPE, and the remaining part of the iris are formed from the optic vesicle, which is derived from the anterior neural ectoderm. See also: Developmental biology; Embryogenesis; Embryonic differentiation; Eye (vertebrate); Germ layers; Morphogenesis; Neural crest; Photoreception; Sense organ; Vertebrata; Vision
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