Forces involved in regulating the uptake of water into the blastocoel and archenteron of Xenopus laevis embryos
Gordon, John Donald Munro
In 1897 Davenport measured the wet and dry weights of amphibian embryos from the stage of hatching onwards. He observed that there was a continuous increase in the wet weight but that the dry weight remained constant until the embryo began feeding. From this he concluded that "growth is due chiefly to imbibed water". Schaper (1902) noted a similar constancy of dry weight from the early tail bud stages until the time of feeding in embryos of Rana fusca. These early observations have been confirmed by Dempster (1933) who, working with Amblystoma punctatwn, extended his experiments to include the earliest developmental stages. The increase in volume, and hence the growth, of amphibian embryos is therefore due to the uptake of water from the environment. Many embryologists have attempted to correlate this water uptake with the osmotic pressure of the embryos. The early work in this field has been extensively reviewed by Needham (1931).