Cellular determination in the Xenopus retina is independent of lineage and birth date

Neuron. 1988 Mar;1(1):15-26. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(88)90205-x.


Xenopus embryos injected with tritiated thymidine throughout the stages of embryonic retinal neurogenesis showed that more than 95% of the embryonic retinal cells are born within a 25 hr period. While there are shallow central to peripheral, dorsal to ventral, and interlaminar gradients of neurogenesis in these eyes, throughout most of this 25 hr period, postmitotic cells are being added to all sectors and layers. Small clones of differentiated retinal neurons and glia derived from single neuroepithelial cells injected with HRP. These clones were elongated radially. They were also composed of many different combinations of cell types, suggesting a mechanism whereby determination is arbitrarily and independently assigned to postmitotic cells. Such a model, when tested statistically, fits our data very well. We present a scheme for cellular determination in the Xenopus retina in which a coherent group of clonally related cells stretch out radially as lamination begins. This brings different cells into different microenvironments. Local interactions in these microenvironments then lead the cells toward specific fates.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Division
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development*
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / embryology*
  • Thymidine
  • Xenopus laevis / embryology*


  • Thymidine