Evidence is accumulating that the current concept of resegmentation during vertebral formation is no longer valid. In order to shed some light on this controversial issue, in the present investigation the development of the vertebral column was studied in a graded series of mouse embryos by conventionally stained serial sections and methyl thymidine 3H autoradiography. It was found that the vertebral bodies do not originate from the upper and lower halves of sclerotomes but from a continuous central tissue mass surrounding the notochord, the perichordal tube. The caudal sclerotome half gives rise to the neural arch and the transverse processes, whereas the cranial half forms the connective tissue of the interneural arch space. An intrasclerotomic cleft supposed to form the intervertebral cleft was not found to exist, in accordance with previous studies. The inferred intrasclerotomic cleft is merely the interface between the loose tissue of the cranial sclerotome half and the densely packed cells of the caudal half.

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