Stereotyped early cleavages in glossiphoniid leech embryos yield 25 micromeres, along with 3 macromeres and 10 teloblasts. The micromeres generate prostomial tissues and also give rise to most of the squamous epithelium of a provisional integument that spreads epibolically from the animal pole, covering the rest of the embryo during germinal plate formation. We systematically injected individual micromeres with fluorescent cell lineage tracers at the time of their birth and quantitatively mapped the contributions of all these cells to the late stage 7 embryo, a time in development that is early in the epibolic expansion. At this time, micromere derivatives comprise two types of cells: squamous epithelial (superficial) cells that cover the germinal bands and the region of the animal cap between the germinal bands; and underlying (deep) cells that are confined to the distal ends of the germinal bands and in the area between their distal ends. We find that individual micromeres contribute clones of deep and/or superficial progeny that are stereotyped with respect to both numbers and types of cells in the clone and the domains that they occupy. The N teloblasts also contribute cells to the squamous epithelium. We find significant differences in the rate of cell proliferation between different micromere clones. These differences appear to reflect lineage-specific traits, since there is little or no regulation of cell number after ablation of individual micromeres.

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