The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 62: 137 - 144 (2018)

Vol 62, Issue 1-2-3

Special Issue: The Chick Embryo Model System

Early hematopoietic and vascular development in the chick

Published: 14 March 2018

Hiroki Nagai1,5, Masahiro Shin2,5, Wei Weng1,5, Fumie Nakazawa5, Lars Martin Jakt3,5, Cantas Alev4,5 and Guojun Sheng*,1,5

1International Research Center for Medical Sciences (IRCMS), Kumamoto University, Kumamoto, Japan, 2University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA, 3Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture, Nord University, Bodo, Norway, 4Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA), Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan and 5RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology, Kobe, Japan


The field of hematopoietic and vascular developmental research owes its origin to the chick embryo. Many key concepts, such as the hematopoietic stem cell, hemangioblast and hemogenic endothelium, were first proposed in this model organism. Genetically tractable models have gradually replaced the chick in the past two decades. However, advances in comparative genomics, transcriptomics and promoteromics promise a re-emergence of the chick embryo as a powerful model for hematopoietic/vascular research. This review summarizes the current status of our understanding of early blood/vascular development in the chick, focusing primarily on the processes of primitive hematopoiesis and early vascular network formation in the extraembryonic and lateral plate mesoderm territories. Emphasis is given to ontological and molecular association between the blood and endothelial cells and to the evolutionary relationship between the hemangioblasts, common precursors for the blood and endothelial lineages, and the coelomic epithelial lining cells. Links between early blood/vascular development and later definitive hematopoiesis are also discussed. Finally, potential applications of the chick model for comparative and omics-level studies of the blood/vascular system are highlighted.


remodeling, evolution, vascular smooth muscle, transcriptome, promoterome

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