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Early Development of Xenopus laevis: A Laboratory Manual

Subject Area(s):  Developmental BiologyXenopus laevisLaboratory Techniques

By Hazel L. Sive, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research; Robert M. Grainger, University of Virginia, Charlottesville; Richard M. Harland, University of California, Berkeley

© 2000 • 338 pp., illus., color plate, appendices, index
Paperback • $40.00 32.00
ISBN  978-087969942-0
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Amphibian embryos are supremely valuable in studies of early vertebrate development because they are large, handle easily, and can be obtained at many interesting stages. And of all the amphibians available for study, the most valuable is Xenopus laevis, which is easy to keep and ovulates at any time of year in response to simple hormone injections.

Xenopus embryos have been studied for years but this is a particularly exciting time for the field. Techniques have become available very recently that permit a previously impossible degree of manipulation of gene expression in intact embryos, as well as the ability to visualize the results of such manipulation. As a result, a sophisticated new understanding of Xenopus development has emerged, which ensures the species’ continued prominent position among the organisms favored for biological investigation.

This manual contains a comprehensive collection of protocols for the study of early development in Xenopus embryos. It is written by several of the field’s most prominent investigators in the light of the experience they gained as instructors in an intensive laboratory course taught at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory since 1991. As a result it contains pointers, hints, and other technical knowledge not readily available elsewhere.

This volume is essential reading for all investigators interested in the developmental and cell biology of Xenopus and vertebrates generally. Many of the techniques described here are illustrated in an accompanying set of videotapes which are cross-referenced to the appropriate section of the manual.


Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Morphology of Xenopus Embryos and Adults
Chapter 3: Manipulating Gene Expression in Xenopus
Chapter 4: Equipment for Embryo Experiments
Chapter 5: Obtaining Embryos
Chapter 6: Preparing Embryos for Manipulation
Chapter 7: Embryo Perturbations
Chapter 8: Microinjection
Chapter 9: Fate Mapping and Lineage Labeling
Chapter 10: Microdissection
Chapter 11: Transgenesis in Xenopus Embryos
Chapter 12: Immunocytochemistry
Chapter 13: Whole-mount In situ Hybridization
Chapter 14: Histology
Appendix 1: Culture Media and Solutions
Appendix 2: Timing of Development of Xenopus laevis Embryos and Temperature Dependence
Appendix 3: Nucleic Acid Methods
Appendix 4: Cautions
Appendix 5: Suppliers
Appendix 6: Trademarks