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[gas-troo-luh] /ˈgæs trʊ lə/
noun, plural gastrulas, gastrulae
[gas-troo-lee] /ˈgæs trʊˌli/ (Show IPA).
a metazoan embryo in an early state of germ layer formation following the blastula stage, consisting of a cuplike body of two layers of cells, the ectoderm and endoderm, enclosing a central cavity, or archenteron, that opens to the outside by the blastopore: in most animals progressing to the formation of a third cell layer, the mesoderm.
Origin of gastrula
From New Latin, dating back to 1875-80; See origin at gastro-, -ule
Related forms
gastrular, adjective
pregastrular, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for gastrula


noun (pl) -las, -lae (-ˌliː)
a saclike animal embryo consisting of three layers of cells (ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm) surrounding a central cavity (archenteron) with a small opening (blastopore) to the exterior See also ectoderm, mesoderm, endoderm
Derived Forms
gastrular, adjective
Word Origin
C19: New Latin: little stomach, from Greek gastēr belly
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gastrula

1877, Modern Latin, from Greek gaster (genitive gastros) "stomach" (see gastric) + Latin -ula, diminutive suffix. Related: Gastrulation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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gastrula in Medicine

gastrula gas·tru·la (gās'trə-lə)
n. pl. gas·tru·las or gas·tru·lae (-lē')
An embryo at the stage following the blastula, consisting of a hollow, two-layered sac of ectoderm and endoderm surrounding an archenteron that communicates with the exterior through the blastopore.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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gastrula in Science
Plural gastrulas or gastrulae (gās'trə-lē')
An animal embryo at the stage following the blastula. The gastrula develops from the blastula by invagination (inpocketing), forming an inner cavity with an opening and causing the cells to be distributed into an outer layer (ectoderm) and an inner layer (endoderm). In complex animals such as vertebrates, a third layer (mesoderm) also forms. These layers later develop into the organs and tissues of the body. In vertebrates and other deuterostomes, the opening of the gastrula becomes the anus, while in protostomes (such as arthropods), it becomes the mouth. ◇ The development of an embryo from blastula to gastrula is called gastrulation. Compare blastula.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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