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J Embryol Exp Morphol. 1985 Aug;88:1-13.

Origin of the irideal striated muscle in birds.


The aim of the present study was to elucidate the origin of the striated muscle cells in the avian iris. For this purpose we adopted interspecific transplantation between quail and chick embryos because quail cells can be used as biological markers in this system. We transplanted isotopically and isochronically (6- to 7-somite stage) a fragment of a dorsal part of the quail neural anlage into a chick embryo at the level corresponding to the posterior prosencephalon and the mesencephalon on the right-hand side. In the chimaeric embryo, the iris epithelium comprised host chick cells, while most of the stromal cells of the iris on the operated side possessed the quail nuclear marker. At 19 days after the operation, the striated muscle cells had differentiated in the chimaeric embryo. These cells, as well as connective tissue cells and the Schwann cells of the iris of the chimaera, were shown to possess typical quail nuclei by light and transmission electron microscopy. From these findings, we conclude that the striated muscle cells originate from the neural crest.

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