Effects of gravity on early development.


The development of embryonic and larval stages of the South African Toad Xenopus laevis D, was investigated in hyper-g up to 5 g (centrifuge), in simulated 0 g (fast-rotating clinostat), in alternating low g, hyper-g (parabolic flights) and in microgravity (Spacelab missions D1, D-2). The selected developmental stages are assumed to be very sensitive to environmental stimuli. The results showed that the developmental reaction processes run normal also in environments different to 1 g and that aberrations in behavior and morphology normalize after return to 1 g. Development, differentiation, and morphology of the gravity perceiving parts of the vestibular system (macula-organs) had not been affected by exposure to different g-levels.