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24-hour Chick Embryo

Serial Cross sections

Photograph 01 of 15: 24 Hour Chick
Section 2 of 240 through anterior tip of head fold

In this section, the anterior tip of the head fold can be seen. The portions that are visible
at this level are portions of the neural folds. Recall that the neural folds form from a
thickened region of dorsal ectoderm by a process called neurulation. The neural folds
will fuse to form the neural tube, the forerunner of the brain and spinal cord. Below
the neural folds, a space is evident. This space is called the subcephalic space or
pocket. Below the subcephalic space is a region consisting of a layer of ectoderm and
a layer of endoderm. This region is called the proamnion.
Photograph 02 of 15: 24 Hour Chick
Section 7 of 240 through head fold and subcephalic space

In this more caudal section, the continuity of the neural folds are evident. The outer layer
of the head fold (also called the head process) is composed of ectoderm. Below the
head fold note the subcephalic space, a layer of ectoderm, and a layer of endoderm.
Photograph 03 of 15: 24 Hour Chick

The formation of the foregut occurs concomitant with the formation of the head fold. The
anterior tip of the preoral gut can be seen as a mass of endodermal cells located
below the neural folds. The preoral gut is the portion of the foregut that is located
anterior to the oral plate and like the foregut is composed of endoderm.
Photograph 04 of 15: 24 Hour Chick
Section 27 of 240 through head fold, foregut, and notochord

At this level, sectioning has now reached the notochord. The notochord is evident ventral
to the neural folds. Ventral to the notochord, the foregut appears as a smile-shaped
cavity delimited by thin endodermally derived walls. Note that the mid portion of the
floor of the foregut is slightly thickened. Below this region is a region of slightly
thickened ectoderm. This region is the oral plate which will become perforated at a
later date to form the mouth. Below the head fold is the subcephalic space and
extraembryonic germ layers. Note the proamnion (ectoderm and endoderm) below
the head fold. Lateral to the proamnion, layers of mesoderm are visible between the
ectoderm and endoderm. The cavity that is evident between the layers of mesoderm
is the coelom.
Photograph 05 of 15: 24 Hour Chick
Section 35 of 240 through posterior limit of head fold, foregut, and

This section is approaching the end of the head fold and subcephalic space. Note the
continuity of the head ectoderm with the extraembryonic ectoderm on the right hand
side of the section.
Photograph 06 of 15: 24 Hour Chick
Section 51 of 240 through region posterior to head fold

Sectioning has now past the head fold of the embryo. Note the absence of the
subcephalic space. The portions of the specimen that will become part of the body of
the embryo are continuous with the portions that will form the extraembryonic
membranes. Note the neural folds, notochord, and foregut. Examine the germ layers
and trace their continuities. The coelom is clearly apparent at this level of sectioning.
The layer of mesoderm closest to the ectoderm is the somatic mesoderm and the
layer of mesoderm closest to the endoderm is the splanchnic mesoderm. One of the
main differences in the developmental fates of these two layers of mesoderm is that
the splanchnic mesoderm will form the heart, blood vessels, and part of the yolk sac
and allantois while the somatic mesoderm forms the dermis, musculature of the body
wall, and part of the amnion and serosa.
Photograph 07 of 15: 24 Hour Chick
Section 57 of 240 through anterior intestinal portal

In this section, note that the neural folds have come together to form the neural tube. This
section is also at the level of the open foregut. Note that the endoderm of the foregut
is continuous with the rest of the endoderm. The opening of the closed foregut is
called the anterior intestinal portal. Examine the thickened, splanchnic mesoderm on
each side of the anterior intestinal portal. This region of thickened, splanchnic
mesoderm is prospective cardiac mesoderm.
Photograph 08 of 15: 24 Hour Chick
Section 61 of 240 through anterior intestinal portal

In this more caudal section through the anterior intestinal portal, review the germ layers.
Note the mesenchyme on each side of the neural tube.
Photograph 09 of 15: 24 Hour Chick
Section 71 of 240 through midgut

The middle part of the gut that has the yolk for the floor of its cavity is called the midgut.
In the section, find the endoderm and the midgut. Keep in mind that the embryo was
removed from the yolk for fixation and sectioning. If the yolk was present in the
section it would fill the bottom part of the photograph.
Photograph 10 of 15: 24 Hour Chick
Section 95 of 240 through somites

In this section through a pair of somites, the neural folds have not yet closed
together. The somites developed from dorsal mesoderm (D) and are located
on each side of the neural folds and notochord. Lateral and adjacent to the
somites is a small region of mesoderm known as the intermediate
mesoderm (I). The intermediate mesoderm will develop into the kidneys.
Lateral to the intermediate mesoderm, is the lateral plate mesoderm (L)
which will delaminate to form the somatic and splanchnic mesodermal
Photograph 11 of 15: 24 Hour Chick
Section 99 of 240 through intersomitic spaces

Note the absence of somites in this section. This section is at a level that is between
somites or in other words, is at a level through the intersomitic spaces. Recall that
somites are discrete blocks of mesodermal tissue. Note the intermediate and lateral
plate mesoderm.
Photograph 12 of 15: 24 Hour Chick
Section 132 of 240 through neural folds

In this section and the sections that follow note the flat appearance of the embryo. The
neural folds are less well developed at this caudal level. Note the notochord and the
layers of ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm.
Photograph 13 of 15: 24 Hour Chick
Section 141 of 240 through neural plate and segmental plate

In this more caudal section, examine the neural plate. Note that at this level, the
notochord is a less distinct structure. On each side of the notochord is the segmental
plate mesoderm. The segmental plate mesoderm is dorsal mesoderm that will later
develop into the somites.
Photograph 14 of 15: 24 Hour Chick
Section 178 of 240 through region of Hensen's node

The level of sectioning has now reached Hensen's node, the cephalic end of the primitive
streak. Hensen's node is the functional equivalent to the dorsal lip of the blastopore in
the amphibian embryo. What is the significance of this structure?
Photograph 15 of 15: 24 Hour Chick
Section 205 of 240 through primitive streak

In the centre of the photograph, note the primitive streak which consists of the primitive
groove and the two primitive ridges. Note the ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm.
This photograph is the last in the series. Note that there are 35 more sections to