Edorium Journal of

Anatomy and Embryology

 
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Review Article
 
Embryology, comparative anatomy, and congenital malformations of the gastrointestinal tract
Melinda Danowitz1, Nikos Solounias2
1B.A, Medical Student, Anatomy, New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, Old Westbury, NY, USA.
2PhD, Professor, Anatomy, New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, Old Westbury, NY, USA.

Article ID: 100014A04MD2016
doi:10.5348/A04-2016-14-RA-6

Address correspondence to:
Melinda Danowitz
8000 Northern Boulevard
Old Westbury, NY
USA, 11568

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How to cite this article
Danowitz M, Solounias N. Embryology, comparative anatomy, and congenital malformations of the gastrointestinal tract. Edorium J Anat Embryo 2016;3:39–50.


Abstract
Evolutionary biology gives context to human embryonic digestive organs, and demonstrates how structural adaptations can fit changing environmental requirements. Comparative anatomy is rarely included in the medical school curriculum. However, its concepts facilitate a deeper comprehension of anatomy and development by putting the morphology into an evolutionary perspective. Features of gastrointestinal development reflect the transition from aquatic to terrestrial environments, such as the elongation of the colon in land vertebrates, allowing for better water reabsorption. In addition, fishes exhibit ciliary transport in the esophagus, which facilitates particle transport in water, whereas land mammals develop striated and smooth esophageal musculature and utilize peristaltic muscle contractions, allowing for better voluntary control of swallowing. The development of an extensive vitelline drainage system to the liver, which ultimately creates the adult hepatic portal system allows for the evolution of complex hepatic metabolic functions seen in many vertebrates today. Human digestive development is an essential topic for medical students and physicians, and many common congenital abnormalities directly relate to gastrointestinal embryology. We believe this comprehensive review of gastrointestinal embryology and comparative anatomy will facilitate a better understanding of gut development, congenital abnormalities, and adaptations to various evolutionary ecological conditions.

Keywords: Anatomy education, Digestive, Embryology, Gastrointestinal tract

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Author Contributions
Melinda Danowitz – Substantial contributions to conception and design, Drafting the article, Revising it critically for important intellectual content, Final approval of the version to be published
Nikos Solounias – Substantial contributions to conception and design, Drafting the article, Revising it critically for important intellectual content, Final approval of the version to be published
Guarantor of submission
The corresponding author is the guarantor of submission.
Source of support
None
Conflict of interest
Authors declare no conflict of interest.
Copyright
© 2016 Melinda Danowitz et al. This article is distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided the original author(s) and original publisher are properly credited. Please see the copyright policy on the journal website for more information.



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