Molecular genetic cascades for external genitalia formation: An emerging organogenesis program

G. Yamada, K. Suzuki, R. Haraguchi, S. Miyagawa, Y. Satoh, M. Kamimura, N. Nakagata, H. Kataoka, A. Kuroiwa, Y. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

85 Citations (Scopus)


External genitalia are anatomical structures located at the posterior embryonic region as part of several urogenital/reproductive organs. The embryonic anlage of the external genitalia, the genital tubercle (GT) develops as a bud-shaped structure with an initial urethral plate and later urethra. Embryonic external genitalia are considered to be one of the appendages. Recent experiments suggest that essential regulatory genes possess similar functions for the outgrowth regulation of the GT and limb appendages. The transient embryonic epithelia located in the distal GT are called the distal urethral epithelium (DUE) regulating, at least in part, the (distal) GT development. This review covers the available data about early patterning of GT and discusses the molecular developmental similarities and points of divergence between the different appendages. Development of the male and female external genitalia is also reviewed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1738-1752
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2006



  • Androgen
  • Anus
  • Appendage development
  • Clitoris
  • Cloaca
  • Genital tubercle
  • Genitalia
  • Growth factors
  • Hormone
  • Penis
  • Reproduction
  • Sex differentiation
  • Tail
  • Urogenital organ

Cite this

Yamada, G., Suzuki, K., Haraguchi, R., Miyagawa, S., Satoh, Y., Kamimura, M., Nakagata, N., Kataoka, H., Kuroiwa, A., & Chen, Y. (2006). Molecular genetic cascades for external genitalia formation: An emerging organogenesis program. Developmental Dynamics, 235(7), 1738-1752.