Bilateral pairs of blastomeres derived from the founder cell AB, the anterior blastomere of the 2-cell stage, in the Caenorhabditis elegans embryo are initially equivalent in their developmental potential. Recently, we showed that an induction at the 12-cell stage by a blastomere called MS is necessary to establish the differences between left and right pairs of blastomeres in the anterior part of the embryo. Further analysis of the process of creating left-right asymmetry reveals that the induction at the 12-cell stage is only the first of a series of inductions establishing the left-right asymmetry of the embryo. We describe here two further inductions that create additional asymmetries in the posterior part of the embryo. One induction occurs at the 24-cell stage among AB descendants themselves. This induction is restricted to the left side of the embryo as a consequence of the fate changes induced by MS at the 12-cell stage. The second induction requires again blastomeres of the MS lineage and also occurs around the 24-cell stage. Together these inductions establish the fate differences observed in the development of left-right pairs of blastomeres in the embryo.

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