• tadpole;
  • metamorphosis;
  • thyroid hormone;
  • muscle stem cells


Knowledge of muscle development in a vertebrate reflects strengths of the particular model system. For example, the origin of mesoderm is very well characterized in Xenopus laevis, where development of somites is less well understood. The major problem in muscle development, presented by frogs, is the complete replacement of larval muscles by adult muscles at thyroid hormone–dependent metamorphosis. All tail muscles die, all leg muscles form de novo, and muscles in the jaw and trunk show both processes. The nature of adult muscle progenitors remains unclear. Comparison of X. laevis development with divergent amphibian patterns, such as direct developers, which lack the larval tadpole, should highlight important steps in adult muscle formation. Developmental Dynamics 236:2444–2453, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.