Four developmental stages of Rana pipiens, R. pipiens female X R. catesbeiana female, and R. pipiens female X R. esculenta male embryos were fixed in standard electron microscopic fixatives with or without 1% lanthanum nitrate (LN) added. Embryos fixed without LN were embedded and sectioned at 0-5 micrometer and stained with toluidine blue. Embryos fixed with LN were embedded and sectioned at 70–80 nm and examined in the electron microscope. Both techiques show a dramatic increase in the amount of stainable material in the extracellular matrix during development. Blastula stage embryos have a small amount of material in the extracellular matrix. Early gastrulae have more stainable material than blastulae and this increased amount appears to be due to an accumulation of material in the marginal zone of the embryo, especially near the dorsal lip of the blastopore. Late gastrulae have large amounts of stainable material in the extracellular spaces in almost all parts of the embryo. Interspecific arrested hybrid embryos do not show the same dramatic accumulation of stainable material in their extracellular matrices.

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