Ciona intestinalis as a model for cardiac development
Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2007 February; 18(1): 16–26. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2006.12.007
The primitive chordate Ciona intestinalis has emerged as a significant model system for the study of heart development. The Ciona embryo employs a conserved heart gene network in the context of extremely low cell numbers and reduced genetic redundancy. Here, I review recent studies on the molecular genetics of Ciona cardiogenesis as well as classic work on heart anatomy and physiology. I also discuss the potential of employing Ciona to decipher a comprehensive chordate gene network and to determine how this network controls heart morphogenesis.