This paper presents a brief survey and preliminary classification of embryonic cleavage patterns in the class Amphibia. We use published data on 41 anuran and 22 urodele species concerning the character of the third cleavage furrow (latitudinal or longitudinal) and the stage of transition from synchronous to asynchronous blastomere divisions in the animal hemisphere (4–8-celled stage, 8–16-celled stage or later). Based on this, four patterns of amphibian embryonic cleavage are recognized, and an attempt to elucidate the evolutionary relationships among these patterns is undertaken. The so-called “standard” cleavage pattern (the extensive series of synchronous blastomere divisions including latitudinal furrows of the third cleavage) with the typical model species Ambystoma mexicanum and Xenopus laevis seems to be derived and probably originated independently in the orders Anura and Caudata. The ancestral amphibian cleavage pattern seems to be represented by species with longitudinal furrows of the third cleavage and the loss of synchrony as early as the 8-celled stage (such as in primitive urodele species from the family Cryptobranchidae).
Russian Journal of Developmental Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 28, 2014
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