notochord no·to·chord (nō'tə-kôrd')
A flexible rodlike structure that forms the main support of the body in the lowest chordates; a primitive backbone.
A similar structure in embryos of higher vertebrates, from which the spinal column develops.
|notochord (nō'tə-kôrd') Pronunciation Key
A flexible rodlike structure that forms the main support of the body in all chordates during some stage of their development. In vertebrates, the notochord develops into a true backbone in the embryonic phase. Primitive chordates, such as lancelets and tunicates, retain a notochord throughout their lives.