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Development. 1990 Jun;109(2):363-72.

The anterior extent of dorsal development of the Xenopus embryonic axis depends on the quantity of organizer in the late blastula.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California, Berkely 94720.


In amphibian gastrulae, the cell population of the organizer region of the marginal zone (MZ) establishes morphogenesis and patterning within itself and within surrounding regions of the MZ, presumptive neurectoderm, and archenteron roof. We have tested the effects on pattern of reducing the amount of organizer region by recombining halves of Xenopus laevis late blastulae cut at different angles from the bilateral plane. When regions within 30 degrees of the dorsal midline are excluded from recombinants, ventralized embryos develop lacking the entire anterior-posterior sequence of dorsal structures, suggesting that the organizer is only 60 degrees wide (centered on the dorsal midline) at the late blastula stage. As more and more dorsal MZ (organizer) is included in the recombinant, progressively more anterior dorsal structures are formed. In all cases, when any dorsal structures are missing they are deleted serially from the anterior end. Thus, we suggest that the amount (lateral width) of the organizer in the MZ determines the anterior extent of dorsal development.

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