[ gas-troo-luh ]

noun,plural gas·tru·las, gas·tru·lae [gas-troo-lee]. /ˈgæs trʊˌli/. Embryology.
  1. 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.

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Origin of gastrula

From New Latin, dating back to 1875–80; see origin at gastro-, -ule

Other words from gastrula

  • gas·tru·lar, adjective
  • pre·gas·tru·lar, adjective

Words Nearby gastrula Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use gastrula in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for gastrula


/ (ˈɡæstrʊlə) /

nounplural -las or -lae (-ˌliː)
  1. 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

Origin of gastrula

C19: New Latin: little stomach, from Greek gastēr belly

Derived forms of gastrula

  • gastrular, adjective

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

Scientific definitions for gastrula


[ găstrə-lə ]

Plural gastrulas gastrulae (găstrə-lē′)
  1. 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.

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