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How does the spine form?

This is a complex process that begins within about 12 days of an egg's fertilization. As the fertilized egg, called a zygote, divides and grows, it becomes a blastocyst. To form the spine, the cell layers of the blastocyst arrange themselves until some form a structure called the notochord, which acts as support for the developing embryo. About 25 days after fertilization, additional cell layers above the notochord fold to form a canal called the neural tube; this tube later becomes the central nervous system. As development continues, additional cell groups form on either side of the neural tube as a basis for the vertebrae. The rest of the spine takes shape when bone formation, or ossification, occurs, roughly when the embryo is 6 or 7 weeks old.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.