By Chr. P. Raven and G. Kerkut (Auth.)
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Additional info for An Outline of Developmental Physiology
We shall now discuss a number of experiments which have led to this conclusion. We have already seen that the first step in development is the cleavage of the fertilised egg into two cells. Each of these cells divides into two again, and so on, until a great number of cleavage cells, or blastomeres, has been formed. This process does not involve cell growth, so that the resulting blástula is still of about the same size as the original egg. In 1891, Driesch made an experiment which was to prove of the greatest im portance for the development of our views in this field.
This case, therefore, is completely analogous to that of the amphibians discussed above. While the above-mentioned evidence of the importance of cortical factors for the organisation of the embryo, mainly derived from centrifugation experiments, is of a rather circum stantial nature, more direct evidence has been provided by recent experiments by Curtis (1960-63) with eggs of the toad Xenopus. When portions of the cortex from the grey crescent region of uncleaved fertilised eggs were grafted to the opposite side of a second egg, the latter produced two separate embryo T H E CORTICAL F I E L D 53 primordia.
It contains the main axis, and also the dorso-ventral axis which is at right angles to the main axis, and connects two opposite points on the equator of the egg. It must be remarked, by the way, that a third axis, which is perpendicular to the median plane, represents the left-right direction of the future animal. As most higher animals are not strictly bilaterally symmetric, but more or less asymmetric, one may ask whether this asymmetry is also, somehow or other, expressed in the structure of the egg.
An Outline of Developmental Physiology by Chr. P. Raven and G. Kerkut (Auth.)