The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 40: 661 - 664 (1996)

Vol 40, Issue 4

Special Issue: Developmental Biology of Urodeles

Surface contraction and expansion waves correlated with differentiation in axolotl embryos. II. In contrast to urodeles, the anuran Xenopus laevis does not show furrowing surface contraction waves

Published: 1 August 1996

P D Nieuwkoop, N K Björklund and R Gordon

Hubrecht Laboratory, Netherlands Institute for Developmental Biology, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


We have observed a number of contraction waves traversing the axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) embryo (a urodelan amphibian) from the midblastula transition up to at least neural tube closure, and wished to learn if similar "differentiation waves" appear on the popular laboratory anuran amphibian, the South African clawed toad, Xenopus laevis. Time lapse video microscopy showed that no contraction waves are visible on the surface of Xenopus from gastrulation through neurulation. It is possible that cell intercalations in the double-layered ectoderm of the Xenopus embryo are homologous to the surface waves in the single layered ectoderm of the axolotl embryo. In any case, a simple, universal correspondence between surface waves and induction phenomena and differentiation does not exist.

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