A full description of the ontogeny of the β cell would guide efforts to generate β cells from embryonic stem cells (ESCs). The first step requires an understanding of definitive endoderm: the genes and signals responsible for its specification, proliferation, and patterning. This report describes a global marker of definitive endoderm, Claudin-6 (Cldn6). We report its expression in early development with particular attention to definitive endoderm derivatives. To create a genetic system to drive gene expression throughout the definitive endoderm with both spatial and temporal control, we target the endogenous locus with an inducible Cre recombinase (Cre-ERT2) cassette. Cldn6 null mice are viable and fertile with no obvious phenotypic abnormalities. We also report a lineage analysis of the fate of Cldn6-expressing embryonic cells, which is relevant to the development of the pancreas, lung, and liver
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