Research Article

Cell Dynamics During Somite Boundary Formation Revealed by Time-Lapse Analysis

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Science  01 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5595, pp. 991-995
DOI: 10.1126/science.1075544

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We follow somite segmentation in living chick embryos and find that the shaping process is not a simple periodic slicing of tissue blocks but a much more carefully choreographed separation in which the somite pulls apart from the segmental plate. Cells move across the presumptive somite boundary and violate gene expression boundaries thought to correlate with the site of the somite boundary. Similarly, cells do not appear to be preassigned to a given somite as they leave the node. The results offer a detailed picture of somite shaping and provide a spatiotemporal framework for linking gene expression with cell movements.

  • * Present address: Stowers Institute for Medical Research, 1000 East 50th Street, Kansas City, MO 64110, USA.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: sefraser{at}

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