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Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1988 Oct 22;235(1278):1-17.

The Claude Bernard lecture, 1987. Embryonic chimeras: a tool for studying the development of the nervous and immune systems.

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Institut d'Embryologie Cellulaire et Mol├ęculaire du CNRS et du Coll├Ęge de France, Nogent-sur-Marne.


Chimeras have been constructed in the avian embryo following the observation of the particular structure of the interphase nucleus in the Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica). In all embryonic and adult cell types of this species a large amount of heterochromatin is associated with the nucleolus, making quail cells readily distinguishable from those of the chick where the constitutive heterochromatin is evenly dispersed in the nucleus. These structural differences have been used to devise a cell-marking technique through which cell migrations and cell interactions during embryogenesis can be followed in the embryo in ovo by grafting quail cells into chick embryos or vice versa. This method was applied to the ontogeny of the neural crest and of the immune system. Recently quail-chick chimeras have been allowed to hatch and the immunological status of the embryonic grafts after birth scrutinized. Xenogeneic tissue grafts made in the embryo are rejected after birth with a more or less prolonged delay according to the nature of the graft. However, rejection can be prevented and a permanent state of tolerance induced for the embryonic tissue grafts by isotopically implanting the thymic epithelium from the same quail donor.

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