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Pronunciation: gas'tru-la

Definition: The embryo in the stage of development following the blastula or blastocyst; in lower forms with minimal yolk, it is a simple double-layered structure consisting of ectoderm and endoderm enclosing the archenteron, which opens to the outside by way of the blastopore; in forms with considerable yolk, the configuration of the gastrula is greatly modified owing to the persistence of the yolk throughout the gastrulation process. In human embryos, the gastrula stage occurs in the third week as the embryonic disk becomes trilaminar.

Synonym(s): invaginate planula

[Mod. L. dim. of G. gaster, belly]

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© Copyright 2018 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.