An Overview of Xenopus Development

  • C. Michael Jones
  • James C. Smith
Part of the METHODS IN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY™ book series (MIMB, volume 461)

1. Introduction

Embryos of the amphibian Xenopus laevis have been used as a model system for the analysis of developmental mechanisms since the 1950s. As described by Gurdon (1), one of the reasons for the popularity of Xenopus is that it is easy to obtain large numbers of embryos. This is illustrated by the fact that until the mid-1950s, Xenopus was used as a pregnancy test in humans: injection of urine from a pregnant woman into the dorsal lymph sac of a female Xenopus causes the frog to lay eggs. This simple assay can readily be applied only to Xenopus, for as Gurdon points out, to persuade Rana species to lay eggs, it is necessary to inject homogenized pituitary glands, a procedure that, furthermore, only works at certain times of the year. Thus, Xenopusis the easiest amphib'ian species from which to obtain embryos, especially as it is now possible to buy human chorionic gonadotrophin from Sigma (St. Louis, MO), thus circumventing the requirement, in a busy developmental biology...


Neural Plate Mesodermal Cell Dorsal Midline Early Gastrula Early Cleavage Stage 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Michael Jones
    • 1
  • James C. Smith
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Molecular MedicineSingapore
  2. 2.CRC/Wellcome Trust Gurdon InstituteUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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