In spite of the therapeutic importance of endoderm derivatives such as the pancreas, liver, lung, and intestine, there are few molecular markers specific for early endoderm. In order to identify endoderm-specific genes as well as to define transcriptional differences between definitive and visceral endoderm, we performed microarray analysis on E8.25 definitive and visceral endoderm. We have developed an early endoderm gene expression signature, and clarified the transcriptional similarities and differences between definitive and visceral endoderm. Additionally, we have developed methods for flow cytometric isolation of definitive and visceral endoderm. These results shed light on the mechanism of endoderm formation and should facilitate investigation of endoderm formation from embryonic stem cells. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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