Somites represent the first visual evidence of segmentation in the developing vertebrate embryo and it is becoming clear that this segmental pattern of the somites is used in the initial stages of development of other segmented systems such as the peripheral nervous system. However, it is not known whether the somites continue to contribute to the maintennace of the segmental pattern after the dispersal of the somitic cells. In particular, the extent to which cells from a single somite contribute to all of the tissues of a single body segment and the extent to which they mix with cells from adjacent segments during their migration is not known. In this study, we have replaced single somites in the future cervical region of 2-day-old chick embryos with equivalent, similarly staged quail somites. The chimerae were then allowed to develop for a further 6 days when they were killed. The cervical region was dissected and serially sectioned. The sections were stained with the Feulgen reaction for DNA to differentiate between the chick and quail cells. The results showed that the cells from a single somite remained as a clearly delimited group throughout their migration. Furthermore, the sclerotome, dermatome and myotome portions from the single somites could always be recognized as being separate from similar cells form other somites. The somitic cells formed all of the tissues within a body segment excluding the epidermis, notochord and neural tissue. There was very little mixing of the somitic cells between adjacent segments. The segmental pattern of the somites is therefore maintained during the migration of the somitic cells and this might be fundamental to a mechanism whereby the segmentation of structures, such as the peripheral nervous system, is also maintained during development.
|Number of pages||13|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 1 1989|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Developmental Biology