Size regulation of double and half embryos in the mice musculus
Lewis, Nancy Elizabeth.
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Genetic chimeras made by aggregating early mouse embryos have many uses in developmental biology and have also provided insights into embryonic growth regulation. There is an indication that the embryo can regulate for an increase in size because although aggregation chimeras are twice as big as normal embryos when made, they are born of normal size. Upward regula..... tion of size reduced embryos is also possible. Half embryos made by the isolation or destruction of one of the blastomeres of a 2-cell embryo are also born of normal size. Little is known about the timing or the mechanism of this size regulation. In this study, the timing of size regulation in double and half embryos was clearly established by comparison of cell numbers derived from serial reconstruction of light microscope sections of control and experimental embryos. It was shown that size regulation in double embryos occurred around 6dl6h and in half embryos by 7dOh. Size regulation occurred in all tissues at the same time indicating a single control mechanism for the entire embryo. More detailed examination of the growth of double embryos revealed that size regulation occurred by alteration in cell cycle length~ No excessive cell death was found in double embryos compared to the controls and continuous labelling with [3H] thymidine showed no large non-dividing cell population in double embryos. However, a comparison of the mitotic index of double and control embryos after colcemid treatment, revealed a large difference between the two around 5dl6h to 6d16h. During this period, control embryos underwent a proliferative burst not shown by the double embryos. The mechanism for cell cycle control is not clear; it may be intrinsic to the embryo or determined by the uterine environment. Evidence was found suggesting that differentiation in the postimplantation embryo was cell number dependent. The timing of differentiative events was examined in half, double and control embryos. Proamnion formation, which occurs prior to size regulation, occurs at the same cell number but at different times in the three groups of embryos. However mesoderm which appears after size regulation was seen at the same time in all grollps of embryos.