Spiral cleavage - metazoa, Biology

Spiral Cleavage - Metazoa

In Spiral Cleavage, however, the third and fourth cleavage planes are oblique to the polar axis and the resulting blastomeres do not lie on top of one another but above the furrows between the cells. The spindles during the third cleavage are arranged in the form of a spiral, therefore, the name spiral cleavage. This type of cleavage is seen in all invertebrate except the echinoderms (i.e. in annelids, molluscs, arthropods nemertenes and polyclad planarians).

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                                              Figure: Spiral cleavage showing transition from 4 to 8 to 16 cell stage

Spirally cleaving embryos are said to have mosaic or determinate form of development. This means that the organ forming regions of the egg are strictly localised in the egg from the very beginning and the fate of the blastomeres is determined early. If the blastomeres are separated, each will continue to develop up to a certain time as though it was a part of the whole and give rise to defective, partial embryos. In the early embryos an unidentified cytoplasmic factor is segregated into one of the blastomeres, the mesentoblast (this is also called the '4 d' cell) which gives rise to the future mesoderm.

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