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Diagram illustrating early formation of allantois and differentiation of body-stalk.
Sectional plan of the gravid uterus in the third and fourth month.
Gray's subject #12 54
Days 16
Precursor yolk sac
Gives rise to Umbilical cord
MeSH Allantois
Dorlands/Elsevier a_24/12121253

Allantois (plural allantoides or allantoises) is a part of a developing animal conceptus (which consists of all embryonic and extra-embryonic tissues). It helps the embryo exchange gases and handle liquid waste.

The allontois, along with the amnion and chorion (other embryonic membranes), identify humans as amniotes, along with reptiles, dinosaurs, birds, and other mammals.


This sac-like structure is primarily involved in respiration and excretion, and is webbed with blood vessels.

The function of the allantois is to collect liquid waste from the embryo, as well as to exchange gases used by the embryo.

In reptiles, birds, and monotremes

The structure first evolved in reptiles and birds as a reservoir for nitrogenous waste, but also as a means for oxygenation of the embryo.

Oxygen is absorbed by the allantois through the egg shell. The allantois functions similarly in monotremes, which are egg-laying mammals.

In most marsupials

In most marsupials, the allantois is avascular, having no blood vessels, but still serves the purpose of storing nitrogenous (N2) waste.

Also, most marsupial allantoises do not fuse with the chorion. An exception is the allantois of the bandicoot, which has a vasculature, and fuses with the chorion.

In placental mammals

In placental mammals, the allantois is part of and forms an axis for the development of the umbilical cord.

  • The mouse allantois consists of mesodermal tissue, which undergoes vasculogenesis to form the mature umbilical artery and vein.[1]
  • The human allantois is an endodermal evagination of the developing hindgut which becomes surrounded by the mesodermal connecting stalk. The connecting stalk forms the umbilical vasculature. These endodermal and mesodermal tissues together form the human umbilical cord. The allantois later becomes the urachus, a vestigial structure with an unknown function.


A patent allantois can result in urachal cyst.


The word comes from the Greek word for sausage,[2] which the allantois resembles.

Additional images


  1. Downs, K.M. 1998. "The Murine Allantois". Current Topics in Developmental Biology vol. 39, pp 1-33.
  2. a_24/12121170 at Dorland's Medical Dictionary

External links

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