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Development. 1992 Jul;115(3):689-94.

Activin can generate ectopic axial structures in chick blastoderm explants.

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Institute of Life Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.


We have recently shown that activin can induce the formation of axial structures from chick blastulae and that activin beta-B is transcribed, in the hypoblast of the chick, at the same stage that axial mesoderm is being induced. It was not clear, however, whether activin was merely allowing the central epiblastic cells to express a differentiated phenotype for which they were already prepared. This report shows that activin-containing medium (ACM) can act as an instructive inductor, which can change the fate of competent cells and bring about the formation of an ectopic embryonic axis. Furthermore, we show data that suggest that during normal development only one axis is obtained as a result of a carefully controlled inhibitory process.

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