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Placenta

The placenta is an organ unique to mammals that connects the developing fetus to the uterine wall. The placenta supplies the fetus with oxygen and food, and allows fetal waste to be disposed of via the maternal kidneys. The word placenta comes from the Latin for cake, from Greek plakóenta/plakoúnta, accusative of plakóeis/plakoús - πλακόεις, πλακούς, "flat, slab-like", referring to its round, flat appearance in humans. Protherial (egg-laying) and metatherial (marsupial) mammals produce a choriovitelline placenta that, while connected to the uterine wall, provides nutrients mainly derived from the egg sac. The placenta develops from the same sperm and egg cells that form the fetus, and functions as a fetomaternal organ with two components, the fetal part (Chorion frondosum), and the maternal part (Decidua basalis).

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