Embryology of the skull base and vertebral column

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The development of the human skeleton begins soon after conception; the skeleton continues to grow until a peak bone mass is achieved during young adulthood and then remodels throughout adult life. The formation of the skeleton depends on the basic biological processes of cell proliferation, migration, differentiation, and maturation. The genetic control of these fundamental processes, especially with regard to the development of the skeletal system, is not yet fully understood; however, homeobox genes, which regulate anatomic site-specific morphogenesis, have been shown to contain the codes for the architectural blueprint of the bones of the body. The specific genes, including those that encode a variety of transcription factors, growth factors, and receptors, involved in these processes are being defined; however, our current understanding of the embryology of the human skull base and vertebral column is still largely based on morphological studies of embryos. The human skull base and vertebral column are highly intricate structures, and this is reflected in the complexity of their embryological development. Although many of the basic processes of their formation are similar to those of the remainder of the skeleton, the presence of the brain and notochord and their inductive effects makes the development of these anatomic regions unique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationChordomas and Chondrosarcomas of the Skull Base and Spine
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9780128043332
ISBN (Print)9780128042571
StatePublished - 2018


  • Embryology
  • Homeobox genes
  • Notochord
  • Skull base
  • Spine
  • Vertebra

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)


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