Beginning during the late blastula stage in zebrafish, cells located beneath a surface epithelial layer of the blastoderm undergo rearrangements that accompany major changes in shape of the embryo. We describe three distinctive kinds of cell rearrangements. (1) Radial cell intercalations during epiboly mix cells located deeply in the blastoderm among more superficial ones. These rearrangements thoroughly stir the positions of deep cells, as the blastoderm thins and spreads across the yolk cell. (2) Involution at or near the blastoderm margin occurs during gastrulation. This movement folds the blastoderm into two cellular layers, the epiblast and hypoblast, within a ring (the germ ring) around its entire circumference. Involuting cells move anteriorwards in the hypoblast relative to cells that remain in the epiblast; the movement shears the positions of cells that were neighbors before gastrulation. Involuting cells eventually form endoderm and mesoderm, in an anterior-posterior sequence according to the time of involution. The epiblast is equivalent to embryonic ectoderm. (3) Mediolateral cell intercalations in both the epiblast and hypoblast mediate convergence and extension movements towards the dorsal side of the gastrula. By this rearrangement, cells that were initially neighboring one another become dispersed along the anterior-posterior axis of the embryo. Epiboly, involution and convergent extension in zebrafish involve the same kinds of cellular rearrangements as in amphibians, and they occur during comparable stages of embryogenesis.

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