Molecular biology of the sea urchin embryo

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Science  02 Jul 1982:
Vol. 217, Issue 4554, pp. 17-26
DOI: 10.1126/science.6178156


Research on the early development of the sea urchin offers new insights into the process of embryogenesis. Maternal messenger RNA stored in the unfertilized egg supports most of the protein synthesis in the early embryo, but the structure of maternal transcripts suggests that additional functions are also possible. The overall developmental patterns of transcription and protein synthesis are known, and current measurements describe the expression of specific genes, including the histone genes, the ribosomal genes, and the actin genes. Possible mechanisms of developmental commitment are explored for regions of the early embryo that give rise to specified cell lineages, such as the micromere-mesenchyme cell lineage.