We have analyzed lineages of cells labeled by intracellular injection of tracer dye during early zebrafish development to learn when cells become allocated to particular fates during development, and how the fate map is organized. The earliest lineage restriction was described previously, and segregates the yolk cell from the blastoderm in the midblastula. After one or two more cell divisions, the lineages of epithelial enveloping layer (EVL) cells become restricted to generate exclusively periderm. Following an additional division in the late blastula, deep layer (DEL) cells generate clones that are restricted to single deep embryonic tissues. The appearance of both the EVL and DEL restrictions could be causally linked to blastoderm morphogenesis during epiboly. A fate map emerges as the DEL cell lineages become restricted in the late blastula. It is similar in organization to that of an amphibian embryo. DEL cells located near the animal pole of the early gastrula give rise to ectodermal fates (including the definitive epidermis). Cells located near the blastoderm margin give rise to mesodermal and endodermal fates. Dorsal cells in the gastrula form dorsal and anterior structures in the embryo, and ventral cells in the gastrula form dorsal, ventral and posterior structures. The exact locations of progenitors of single cell types and of local regions of the embryo cannot be mapped at the stages we examined, because of variable cell rearrangements during gastrulation.

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