Nascone-Yoder Lab

North Carolina State University

Gut Morphogenesis

The vertebrate digestive tract develops from a primitive embryonic gut tube that simultaneously elongates, rotates, and forms an epithelium-lined lumen.

Successive stages of gut development in tadpoles of the African Clawed Frog (Xenopus laevis). The left (red) and right (green) contributions to the gut tube are indicated in the gut models.

We are investigating the developmental mechanisms that underlie these fascinating topological transformations, including the cellular rearrangements and molecular signaling pathways involved.

A Model of Xenopus Gut Morphogenesis

Our work may contribute to our understanding of the etiology of birth defects in the digestive organs, including intestinal malrotation and fixation anomalies, stenosis and atresia, and congenital short gut.



The convoluted digestive tract has fascinated scientists and philosophers for centuries....

Internal organs depicted in image* from 11th century Persian manuscript (the digestive tract is yellow).

Egyptian hieroglyphs* meaning "intestine/ intestinal cavity", "coils of snake'" and "windings of waterway"



* Images from The Food Museum article :"History of the Digestive System: How We Learned About Our Own Guts" and HISTORY OF THE STOMACH AND INTESTINES