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Dev Biol. 1984 Apr;102(2):335-43.

Spatial distribution of blastomeres is dependent on cell division order and interactions in mouse morulae.


Spatial distribution of blastomeres was examined in 16- to 30-cell morulae obtained from aggregates of 1/2----1/2 and 1/2----2/4 blastomeres. The advanced blastomeres (2/4) contributed disproportionately more inner cells while there was a corresponding decline in the contribution from the delayed blastomere (1/2) so that a balance between the total number of inner and outer cells was retained. There was, however, no marked change in the relative number of outer cells. It is suggested that once formed, the inner more adhesive cells divide relatively faster than the outer cells whose behaviour is dictated by the inner cells. The outer less adhesive cells spread over the inner cells; cell spreading is incompatible with division. The degree to which cell spreading and retardation of division of outer cells occurs may be dictated by the number of inner cells present at any one time and this partly determines the entry of further cells inside. The suggested mechanism for cell allocation is highly flexible and, indeed, essential to encompass the wide variety of patterns of cell interactions and distribution observed in morulae. It is also proposed that the retardation of division of outer cells may trigger differentiation of trophectoderm by inducing endoreduplication and the blastomeres delayed from dividing for the longest period of time may mark down the abembryonic pole and establish the embryonic-abembryonic axis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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