Segregation of fate during cleavage of frog (Xenopus laevis) blastomeres

Anat Embryol (Berl). 1990;182(4):347-62. doi: 10.1007/BF02433495.


A detailed fate map of all the progeny derived from each of the blastomeres of the 4- and 8-cell stage South African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) embryo is presented. Each "identified" blastomere that results from stereotypic cleavages has a characteristic set of progeny that distinguishes it from the other blastomeres of the embryo. The 4-cell dorsal (D) blastomere is the major progenitor of the stomodeum, cement gland, retina, notochord, head somite, pharynx and liver. The 4-cell ventral (V) blastomere is the major progenitor of the trunk and fin epidermis, ventral somite, nephrotome, lateral plate mesoderm and proctodeum. The other organs are derived from both blastomeres. At the next cell division, the animal hemisphere daughters of both blastomeres (D1 and V1, respectively) become the major progenitors for head ectodermal and mesodermal structures, and the vegetal hemisphere daughters become the major progenitors for trunk mesodermal (D2) or trunk endodermal (V2) structures. Semiquantitative lineage diagrams, using data from this and from previous studies demonstrate that as cleavage proceeds from the 2- to the 32-cell stage, the progenitors for particular organs or for specific regions of organs segregate into defined regions of the blastula. To determine whether this segregation is related to the position of the blastomere or to its geneological lineage, we compared the fates of radial 8-cell blastomeres to those of stereotypic 8-cell blastomeres. Radial blastomeres have fates nearly equivalent to the sum of the two 16-cell blastomeres that occupy the same position in the embryo, demonstrating that fate depends upon blastomere position rather than lineage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blastomeres / cytology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division
  • Ectoderm / cytology
  • Mesoderm / cytology
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Xenopus laevis / embryology*