Developmental biology teachers use the example of the frog embryo to introduce young scientists to the wonders of vertebrate development, and to pose the crucial question, ‘How does a ball of cells become an exquisitely patterned embryo?’. Classical embryologists also recognized the power of the amphibian model and used extirpation and explant studies to explore early embryo polarity and to define signaling centers in blastula and gastrula stage embryos. This review revisits these early stages of Xenopus development and summarizes the recent explosion of information on the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that are responsible for the first phases of embryonic patterning.
Source: Heasman, J. (2006). Patterning the early Xenopus embryo. Development (Cambridge, England), 133(7), 1205–1217. https://doi.org/10.1242/dev.02304