In the preprimitive streak chick embryo, the search for a region capable of inducing the organizer, equivalent to the Nieuwkoop Center of the amphibian embryo, has focused on Koller's sickle, the hypoblast and the posterior marginal zone. However, no clear evidence for induction of an organizer without contribution from the inducing tissue has been provided for any of these structures. We have used DiI/DiO labeling to establish the fate of midline cells in and around Koller's sickle in the normal embryo. In the epiblast, the boundary between cells that contribute to the streak and those that do not lies at the posterior edge of Koller's sickle, except at stage X when it lies slightly more posteriorly in the epiblast. Hypoblast and endoblast (a second lower layer formed under the streak) have distinct origins in the lower layer, and goosecoid expression distinguishes between them. We then used anterior halves of chick prestreak embryos as recipients for grafts of quail posterior marginal zone; quail cells can be identified subsequently with a quail-specific antibody. Anterior halves alone usually formed a streak, most often from the posterior edge. Quail posterior marginal zones without Koller's sickle were grafted to the anterior side of anterior halves. These grafts were able to increase significantly the frequency of streaks arising from the anterior pole of stage X-XI anterior halves without contributing to the streak or node. Stage XII anterior halves no longer responded. A goosecoid-expressing hypoblast did not form under the induced streak, indicating that it is not required for streak formation. We conclude that the marginal zone posterior to Koller's sickle can induce a streak and node, without contributing cells to the induced streak.

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