Besides the natural wonder that embryogenesis engenders, understanding the molecular and genetic mechanisms that control development has profound relevance to understanding normal physiology and aberrations of physiology in diseased states. Much of the impetus to understand embryonic development is the hope that lost or defective tissue can be restored by reviving quiescent developmental programs. In this regard, an overview of pancreatic development illustrates developmental themes relevant to the formation of mature organs and the potential for restoring defective tissue. This review includes a general overview of some of the fundamental mechanisms that control development, a description of these processes for pancreatic development, and comment on their relevance to salivary gland development.
Keywords: transcription factors, morphogens, organogenesis