The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 45: 73 - 81 (2001)

Vol 45, Issue 1

Special Issue: The Spemann-Mangold Organizer

Contrasting influences of the organizer and induction concepts on the scientific activity of French embryologists

Published: 1 February 2001

J C Beetschen and A M Duprat

Centre de Biologie du Developpement, UMR-CNRS 5547, Universite Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France.


Unlike biologists from several European countries, most French embryologists did not work from the onset on problems associated with the Spemann-Mangold organizer, though they were fully aware of the importance of the discovery. They preferred to stay on other original topics, but their later work was of course influenced by the induction concepts. The exploration of secondary inductions in various organ formations was flourishing after 1950. As far as primary induction is concerned, two exceptions must be stressed: Vintemberger, who, before World War II, worked on the frog organizer for a few years, and especially Capuron (1968), who repeated Spemann and Mangold's fundamental experiment on a large scale. Then, from 1980 on, a series of studies dealing with the neural induction concept focused on studies of the gastrula ectoderm itself, was undertaken, mainly in Toulouse University by Duprat and her colleagues, and in Paris-6 University by Boucaut and his colleagues.

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