Creating an organ poses unique challenges in embryogenesis, including establishing an organ primordium and coordinating development of different tissues in the organ. The digestive tract (gut) is a complex organ system, posing the interesting question of how the development of a series of organs is coordinated to establish an organ system with a common function. Although gut development has been the focus of much research, the molecular mechanisms that regulate these events are just beginning to be understood. This primer will first outline the basic anatomy of the digestive tract and then focus on molecular mechanisms that drive vertebrate gut organogenesis. Deciphering mechanisms underlying gut organogenesis also provides insights into understanding the development of other organs. Developmental Dynamics 228:287–291, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.