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Word Count: 507
Vertebrate embryos rely extensively upon inductive interactions to diversify the number of different kinds of cells in the embryo Induction is the process by which one group of cells produces a signal that determines the fate of a second group of cells This implies both the capacity to produce a signal ligand by the inducing cells and the competence of the responding cells to receive and interpret the signal via a signal transduction pathway Amphibians are the most extensively studied vertebrates for investigations into embryonic induction Most contemporary investigations have utilized Xenopus The two major inductive events during early Xenopus development Slack 1994 Fig 1 are mesoderm induction neural induction Mesoderm Induction An Overview Mesoderm induction occurs over an extended period of time in the equatorial region of the embryo from about the 32-cell stage to the beginning of gastrulation The requirement of induction for production of mesoderm is evident by comparing the embryonic fate map which shows the fates of regions of the embryo during normal development to the specification map which shows what tissue explants can do in isolation during cleavage stages The fate map shows that about half of the mesoderm arises from cells above the equatorial pigment boundary whereas no cells from above the pigment boundary will form muscle or notochord in isolation This implies that cells above this boundary require contact with cells below the boundary the vegetal cells to produce mesoderm and that is what is observed when animal and vegetal explants are combined using the procedure first developed by Nieuwkoop See Browder et al 1991 Figs 121-124 Gilbert 1997 Fig 1514 Kalthoff 1996 Figs 62 and 919 Wolpert et al 1998 Figs 316 322 and 325 The vegetal cells are not equal in their inductive capacities The dorsal vegetal cells the Nieuwkoop Center induce axial mesoderm of the dorsal midline notochord and segmented muscle whereas the remaining vegetal cells induce ventrolateral
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