Clonal analysis of whole-mount preparations of entire retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), using SWR ↔ C57BL/6JLac and DDK ↔ C3H/Bi mouse aggregation chimaeras in which one of the two parental components predominated, revealed a markedly non-random spatial arrangement of patch (clone) sizes. Single-cell and small patches predominated in an area around the optic nerve head while large patches occurred most frequently near the periphery. Mechanisms are discussed which may explain these results. Patch size frequency distributions were concave and skewed. Singletons were the most frequent size class, but a wide range of sizes and a smaller number of much larger patches were also always found. The results preclude the use of statistical methods previously employed to calculate clone sizes from the geometric means of observed patch sizes. Instead, the median and interquartile range may provide the best summary of the observed patch size frequency distributions. Our findings support a stochastic model of tissue growth.

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