Spatial distribution of the capacity to initiate a secondary embryo in the 32-cell embryo of Xenopus laevis

Dev Biol. 1990 Dec;142(2):432-8. doi: 10.1016/0012-1606(90)90365-p.


To examine the spatial distribution of dorsal determinants in the early embryos of Xenopus laevis, individual cells from the 32-cell embryo were transplanted into the same tier of the ventral side of a synchronous recipient. Their abilities to initiate a secondary embryo were measured by the incidence of secondary embryos and by the length of the secondary axis relative to the primary embryo. The ability was found to be localized in all cells (A1, B1, C1, and D1) of the dorsal most column and in the vegetal cells (C2 and D2) of the dorsolateral column. Transplanted C1 (subequatorial) cells caused the highest incidence of a secondary embryo and the average relative length of the secondary embryo was also greatest. Effectiveness decreased in the order: D1, B1, D2, C2, and A1. When these results were compared with Dale and Slack's fate map of the 32-cell embryo, it was concluded that the distribution of dorsal determinants is unique and does not coincide with the prospective regions for any tissues, though it is somewhat similar to the prospective region of dorsal endoderm or notochord. From these results it seems that dorsal determinants do not determine a particular tissue in an embryo but rather the "dorsal" region of an embryo.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blastomeres / ultrastructure*
  • Cell Division
  • Culture Techniques
  • Embryo Transfer
  • Male
  • Nucleolus Organizer Region / ultrastructure*
  • Xenopus laevis / embryology*