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Science. 2002 Nov 1;298(5595):991-5.

Cell dynamics during somite boundary formation revealed by time-lapse analysis.

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  • 1Division of Biology, Beckman Institute 139-74, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.


We follow somite segmentation in living chick embryos and find that the shaping process is not a simple periodic slicing of tissue blocks but a much more carefully choreographed separation in which the somite pulls apart from the segmental plate. Cells move across the presumptive somite boundary and violate gene expression boundaries thought to correlate with the site of the somite boundary. Similarly, cells do not appear to be preassigned to a given somite as they leave the node. The results offer a detailed picture of somite shaping and provide a spatiotemporal framework for linking gene expression with cell movements.

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