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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Lithium evokes expression of vegetal-specific molecules in the animal blastomeres of sea urchin embryos.

The mechanism of determination of early embryonic cells has been investigated using sea urchin embryos. An efficacious method of isolating blastomere pairs from the animal or vegetal half of sea urchin embryos was developed. The overt differentiation of separated animal and vegetal blastomere pairs resembles that of separated animal and vegetal hemispheres isolated by manual dissection. Treatment of animal blastomeres with LiCl caused them to display a morphology resembling that of isolated vegetal blastomeres. The effects of separation of animal and vegetal blastomeres and of treatment of animal blastomeres with LiCl were examined at the molecular level using gut alkaline phosphatase and a spicule matrix protein RNA as markers of differentiation. Histochemical staining and in situ hybridization studies showed that these markers are normally only expressed in vegetal blastomeres but that their expression can be evoked in animal blastomeres by treatment with LiCl.[1]


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