The sensory organs of the embryonic lateral line system are deposited by migrating primordia that originate in the otic region. Here, we examine the pattern of cell proliferation in the posterior lateral line system. We conclude that three phases of cell proliferation are involved in the generation of this system, separated by two phases of mitotic quiescence. The first phase corresponds to generalized proliferation during gastrulation, followed by a first period of quiescence that may be related to the determination of the lateral line precursor cells. A second phase of proliferation takes place in the placode and migrating primordium. This region is organized in annuli that correspond to the expression of proneural/neurogenic genes. A second period of quiescence follows, corresponding to deposition and differentiation of the sensory organs. The third period of proliferation corresponds to continued renewal of hair cells by division of support cells within each sensory organ.
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