Analysis of the embryonic sources and mechanisms of development of posterior levels of chick neural tubes


  • Bruce B. Criley

    1. Zoology Department, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801
    Current affiliation:
    1. Biology Department, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80302
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The mechanisms of development of posterior levels of neural tubes of chick embryos were analyzed by study of serial cross-sections of a continuous series of normal embryos between 40 to 72 hours of incubation. Two extirpation experiments were performed in ovo on other embryos of the same stages. Descriptive studies revealed the presence of an overlap zone in which two types of neural tube formation occurred. Open neural tube formation (by fusion of neural folds) occurred dorsally in this region; closed neural tube formation (by canalization of solid medullary cord tissue) occurred ventrally. Extirpation of the posterior end of the neural plate produced defects within the lumbosacral region, indicating that the posterior neural plate participates in the formation of the lumbosacrum, and that the overlap zone is therefore in the lumbosacral region. Extirpation of the prospective neural tissue in the anterior end of the tail bud indicated that only the most posterior levels of the neural tube originate exclusively by cavitation of the tail bud. In both extirpation experiments a neural tube formed independently within the tail bud tissue, indicating that formation of the neural tube in this region is not dependent upon direct continuity with neural tissue anteriorly.