Endoderm Layer: Definition & Derivatives

Endoderm Layer: Definition & Derivatives
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  • 0:01 Gastrulation & the Endoderm
  • 1:00 Derivatives of the Endoderm
  • 2:43 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Angela Lynn Swafford

Lynn has a BS and MS in biology and has taught many college biology courses.

Do you know what the lungs and intestines have in common? They both actually develop from the same tissue layer in an embryo. Learn what other structures are also derived from this same embryonic layer in this lesson.

Gastrulation and the Endoderm

During early development, most animals go through a process called gastrulation, where the cells of the embryo are rearranged to produce different embryonic germ layers. Some animals are diploblastic and have only two germ layers: the endoderm and ectoderm. The endoderm is the innermost germ layer and is surrounded by the outer ectoderm. Jellyfish, sea anemones, corals, and comb jellies are diploblastic. Most other animals, including humans, are triploblastic, meaning they have three different germ layers; in between the endoderm and the ectoderm is a layer called the mesoderm.

Each of these tissue layers will develop into different adult structures. For example, in humans the ectoderm develops into your nervous system and outer skin layer; the mesoderm produces most of your organ systems, including your skeletal and muscular systems; and the endoderm develops into your innermost tissues and organs.

Derivatives of the Endoderm

The derivatives, or portions of the body, that develop from the endoderm germ layer include parts of the digestive tract, the respiratory tract, the urinary tract, and several internal organs.

The inner epithelial lining of most of the gastrointestinal tract is derived from endoderm. The gastrointestinal tract is the tube of your digestive system that includes your mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, intestines, and anus. The lining of the mouth and anus are the most external parts and are actually derived from the ectoderm layer. However, the rest of the gastrointestinal lining does develop from endoderm.

The respiratory tract runs from your nose to your lungs. The tissue lining your inner nose passages is made from ectoderm, but the rest of the respiratory tract lining is derived from endoderm. This includes the larynx, the trachea, the smaller tubes that lead to the lungs, and the respiratory surfaces of the lungs.

Parts of the urinary bladder and urethra of the urinary system are derived from endoderm, as well. The urinary bladder stores urine until the urethra releases it outside of the body.

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