Overview of the development of the gastrointestinal tract
- Ian Sanderson, MD
Ian Sanderson, MD
- Professor of Pediatric Gastroenterology
- Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
- Section Editors
- Kathleen J Motil, MD, PhD
Kathleen J Motil, MD, PhD
- Section Editor — Pediatric Nutrition
- Professor of Pediatric Nutrition
- Baylor College of Medicine
- Melvin B Heyman, MD, MPH
Melvin B Heyman, MD, MPH
- Section Editor — Pediatric Gastroenterology
- Professor of Pediatrics
- University of California, San Francisco
The anatomic formation of the esophagus, stomach, intestine, liver, and pancreas are achieved in the fourth fetal week through a series of evaginations, elongations, and dilatations. Anatomic development progresses through cell proliferation, growth, and morphogenesis.
Three distinct regions of the intestine give rise to specific portions of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract:
●The foregut is the precursor of the pharynx, esophagus, stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, and the cranial portion of the duodenum (figure 1).
●The midgut gives rise to the caudal portion of the duodenum, the jejunum, ileum, the ascending colon, and two-thirds of the transverse colon (figure 2).
●The hindgut is the precursor of the distal one-third of the transverse colon, the descending colon, the rectum, and the urogenital sinus (figure 3).
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