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Mech Dev. 2003 Feb;120(2):227-40.

The lateral somitic frontier: dorso-ventral aspects of anterio-posterior regionalization in avian embryos.

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Department of Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


Patterning events along the anterior-posterior (AP) axis of vertebrate embryos result in the distribution of muscle and bone forming a highly effective functional system. A key aspect of regionalized AP patterning results from variation in the migratory pattern of somite cells along the dorsal-ventral (DV) axis of the body. This occurs as somite cell populations expand around the axis or migrate away from the dorsal midline and cross into the lateral plate. The fate of somitic cells has been intensely studied and many details have been reported about inductive signaling from other tissues that influence somite cell fate and behavior. We are interested in understanding the specific differences between somites in particular AP regions and how these differences contribute to the global pattern of the organism. Using orthotopic transplants of segmental plate between quail and chick embryos, we have mapped the interface of the somitic and lateral plate mesoderm during the formation of the body wall in cervical and thoracic regions. This interface does not change dramatically in the mid-cervical region, but undergoes extensive changes in the thoracic region. Based on this regional mapping and consistent with the extensive literature, we suggest a revised method of classifying regions of the body wall that relies on embryonic cell lineages rather than adult functional criteria.

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