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We describe the use of a DNA construct (named GFP.RN3) encoding green fluorescent protein as a lineage marker for Xenopus embryos. This offers the following advantages over other lineage markers so far used in Xenopus. When injected as synthetic mRNA, its protein emits intense fluorescence in living embryos. It is non-toxic, and the fluorescence does not(More)
Despite an apparent lack of determinants that specify cell fate, spatial patterning of the mouse embryo is evident early in development. The axis of the post-implantation egg cylinder can be traced back to organization of the pre-implantation blastocyst. This in turn reflects the organization of the cleavage-stage embryo and the animal-vegetal axis of the(More)
The mature mammalian oocyte is highly polarized because asymmetrical spindle migration to the oocyte cortex ensures extrusion of small polar bodies in the two meiotic divisions, essential for generation of the large egg. Actin filaments, myosin motors, and formin-2, but not microtubules, are required for spindle migration. Here, we show that Cdc42, a key(More)
One of the unanswered questions in mammalian development is how the embryonic-abembryonic axis of the blastocyst is first established. It is possible that the first cleavage division contributes to this process, because in most mouse embryos the progeny of one two-cell blastomere primarily populate the embryonic part of the blastocyst and the progeny of its(More)
The preimplantation development of the mammalian embryo encompasses a series of critical events: the transition from oocyte to embryo, the first cell divisions, the establishment of cellular contacts, the first lineage differentiation-all the first subtle steps toward a future body plan. Here, we use microarrays to explore gene activity during(More)
The use of double-stranded (ds) RNA is a powerful way of interfering with gene expression in a range of organisms, but doubts have been raised about whether it could be successful in mammals. Here, we show that dsRNA is effective as a specific inhibitor of the function of three genes in the mouse, namely maternally expressed c-mos in the oocyte and(More)
Two independent studies have recently suggested similar models in which the embryonic and abembryonic parts of the mouse blastocyst become separated already by the first cleavage division. However, no lineage tracing studies carried out so far on early embryos provide the support for such a hypothesis. Thus, to re-examine the fate of blastomeres of the(More)
Setting aside pluripotent cells that give rise to the future body is a central cell fate decision in mammalian development. It requires that some blastomeres divide asymmetrically to direct cells to the inside of the embryo. Despite its importance, it is unknown whether the decision to divide symmetrically versus asymmetrically shows any spatial or temporal(More)
A crucial question in mammalian development is how cells of the early embryo differentiate into distinct cell types. The first decision is taken when cells undertake waves of asymmetric division that generate one daughter on the inside and one on the outside of the embryo. After this division, some cells on the inside remain pluripotent and give rise to the(More)
Development of the early mouse embryo has always been classified as regulative, meaning that when parts or blastomeres of the embryo are isolated they change their developmental fate and can even reconstruct the whole. However, regulative development does not mean that, in situ, these parts or blastomeres are equivalent; it does not mean that the early(More)