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J Embryol Exp Morphol. 1978 Dec;48:37-51.

Cell division and cell allocation in early mouse development.


Cell division was observed in intact and dissociated mouse embryos between the 2-cell stage and the blastocyst in embryos developing in culture. Division to the 4-cell stage was usually asynchronous. The first cell to divide to the 4-cell stage produced descendants which tended to divide ahead of those cells produced by its slow partner at all subsequent stages of development up to the blastocyte stage. The descendants of the first cell to divide to the 4-cell stage did not subsequently have short cell cycles. The first cell or last cell to divide from the 4-cell stage was labelled with tritiated thymidine. The embryo was reassembled, and it was found that the first pair of cells to reach the 8-cell stage contributed disproportionately more descendants to the ICM when compared with the last cell to divide to the 8-cell stage.

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