The hypoblast is generally thought to be responsible for inducing the mesoderm in the chick embryo because the primitive streak, and subsequently the embryonic axis, form according to the orientation of the hypoblast However, some cells become specified as embryonic mesoderm very late in development, towards the end of the gastrulation period and long after the hypoblast has left the embryonic region. We argue that induction of embryonic mesoderm and of the embryonic axis are different and separable events, both in amniotes and in amphibians. We also consider the relationships between the dorsoventral and anteroposterior axes in both groups of vertebrates.

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