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Pattern formation in fragmented eggs of the short germ insect Schistocerca gregaria

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The effect of transverse fragmentation on the segment pattern of the short germ embryo of the locust Schistocerca gregaria has been investigated at two stages subsequent to the formation of the germ anlage. Following fragmentation both anterior and posterior partial embryos were observed, although rarely in a single egg. Anterior partial patterns usually terminated with a segment visible at the time of fragmentation or with the next segment due to appear. Posterior partial patterns began with a wide range of segments depending on the level of fragmentation.

Anterior and posterior partial patterns developing in a single egg were usually not complementary and the segments missing sometimes included some segments visible when the embryo was fragmented. Non-complementary patterns resulted following fragmentation in all regions, while complementary patterns only occurred after fragmentation in the visibly-segmented region.

The results suggest that following fragmentation isolated posterior portions of the embryo continue to form segments, while isolated anterior regions usually do not. This effect could result from variable damage to an existing pattern of unequally-sized segment primordia, or from the disruption of a process of sequential segmentation in the elongating posterior region of the embryo. The results are broadly compatible with the progress zone model proposed by Summerbell et al. (1973).

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Mee, J.E. Pattern formation in fragmented eggs of the short germ insect Schistocerca gregaria . Roux's Arch Dev Biol 195, 506–512 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00375891

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Key words

  • Segment
  • Pattern formation
  • Insect egg
  • Fragmentation
  • Locust development