The somatopleure is the amniotic primordium in amniote development, but its boundary to the embryonic body at early embryonic stages and the fate of cells constituting this structure are not well characterized. It also remains unclear how cells behave during the demarcation between intra- and extra-embryonic tissues. Here we identify cellular alignments, which indicate two streams towards the sites of dorsal amniotic closure and ventral thoracic wall formation. A subpopulation of mesodermal cells moving ventrally from the somatopleural region adjacent to the base of the head fold enter the body of the embryo and distribute to the thoracic wall, pharyngeal arches and heart. These cells are induced to differentiate into vascular endothelial cells and cardiomyocytes possibly by FGF and BMP signaling, respectively. These results indicate that the somatopleure acting as the amniotic primordium also serves as a source of embryonic cells, which may contribute to cardiovascular development.
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