The mesoderm is the middle layer of cells in very early vertebrate and insect embryos. It is one of the three primary germ cell layers and gives rise to tissues and organs such as muscle, bone, blood and the heart.

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    The endoderm layer destined to be primitive gut is a mosaic of earlier visceral endoderm and definitive endoderm that arises later, during gastrulation. Live imaging now reveals that in mouse embryos, definitive endoderm cells egress from underlying mesoderm and intercalate into the overlying cell layer. This process requires SOX17-mediated control of basement membrane organization.

    • Angela C. H. McDonald
    •  & Janet Rossant
    Nature Cell Biology 16, 1128-1129