1Institute of Anatomy II, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany, 2Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI), Monash University, Clayton, Australia and 3Institut NeuroMyoGene (INMG), University Lyon1, France
Striated muscle is the most abundant tissue in the body of vertebrates and it forms, together with the skeleton, the locomotory system required both for movement and the creation of the specific body shape of a species. Research on the embryonic development of muscles has a long tradition both in classical embryology and in molecular developmental biology. While the gene networks regulating muscle development have been discovered mostly in the mouse through genetics, our knowledge on cell lineages, muscle morphogenesis and tissue interactions regulating their formation is to a large extent based on the use of the avian model. This review highlights present knowledge of the development of skeletal muscle in vertebrate embryos. Special focus will be placed on the contributions from chicken and quail embryo model systems.