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The early stages of development of the chick embryo, leading to primitive streak formation (the start of gastrulation), have received renewed attention recently, especially for studies of the mechanisms of large-scale cell movements and those that position the primitive streak in the radial blastodisc. Over the long history of chick embryology, the terminology used to define different regions has been changing, making it difficult to relate studies to each other. To resolve this objectively requires precise definitions of the regions based on anatomical and functional criteria, along with a systematic molecular map that can be compared directly to the functional anatomy. Here, we undertake these tasks. We describe the characteristic cell morphologies (using scanning electron microscopy and immunocytochemistry for cell polarity markers) in different regions and at successive stages. RNAseq was performed for 12 regions of the blastodisc, from which a set of putative regional markers was selected. These were studied in detail by in situ hybridization. Together this provides a comprehensive resource allowing the community to define the regions unambiguously and objectively. In addition to helping with future experimental design and interpretation, this resource will also be useful for evolutionary comparisons between different vertebrate species.


Hyung Chul Lee, Hui-Chun Lu, Mark Turmaine, Nidia M M Oliveira, Youwen Yang, Irene De Almeida, Claudio D Stern. Molecular anatomy of the pre-primitive-streak chick embryo. Open biology. 2020 Feb;10(2):190299

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PMID: 32102607

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