HELENE FOURNIE, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY HELENE FOURNIE, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Neural tube development. Computer artwork showing the 4 stages of neural tube development in an embryo. The whole embryo is shown at left, and a section through the neural tube at right. The neural tube, which forms from ectoderm tissue, develops into the brain and spinal cord. At around the 16th day of development the neural plate forms (top). Over the next few days a trench forms in the neural plate that deepens into the neural groove (2nd from top). By the 21st day of development the neural folds on either side of the neural groove start to meet to form the neural tube (3rd from top). Eventually the whole tube is enclosed (bottom left) and the cells begin a period of rapid division. The front of the tube will become the brain and the rest will become the spinal cord.
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