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J Embryol Exp Morphol June 1, 1979; 51 165-82.
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Cell number in relation to primary pattern formation in the embryo of Xenopus laevis. I. The cell cycle during new pattern formation in response to implanted organizers.

Cooke J .

Results are presented which offer strong evidence that extensive alteration of the fates of embryonic Xenopus cells occurs independently of the schedule of cell division, after operations which lead to a doubling of the axial pattern of mesodermal differentiation in the gastrula. The experimental strategy was to make estimates of total mesodermal cell numbers and mitotic index in closely matched sets, each of three synchronous sibling embryos, fixed during the ten hours following the close of gastrulation. Within each set two embryos, an unoperated control and a sham-operated embryo whose own dorsal-lip (organizer) cells had been replaced with an equivalent graft, were developing normally. The third, experimental embryo had received an organizer implant to replace an equivalent number of cells from its ventral marginal zone, and was thus developing two axial mesodermal patterns of differentiation in relation to two dorsal midlines, the extra pattern embracing much host tissue. Mitotic index was also determined, in specific regions and throughout the mesoderm, in similar sets of embryos but at mid-gastrula stages. The conclusions are justified by the results of a control investigation which show that there is normally no difference in cell cycle time along the presumptive dorso-ventral mesodermal, dimension, during the interval between time of operations and the determination of pattern. The lack of any enhancement of mesodermal cell number in late embryos with dual axia patterns, or intervening enhancement of mitotic index in younger operated embryos, thus suggests that new patterns may be determined in the Xenopus gastrula without generation of extra cells. The results are discussed in relation to recent ideas about pattern formation, and the concepts of morphallaxis and epimorphosis.

PubMed ID: 479743
Article link: J Embryol Exp Morphol