Cleavage (embryo)

Cleavage (Embryo)

Cleavage (embryo)

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Description:
In embryology, cleavage is the division of cell in the early embryo. The zygotes of many species undergo rapid cell cycles with no significant growth, producing a cluster of cells the same size as the original zygote. The different cells derived from cleavage are called blastomeres and form a compact mass called the morula. Cleavage ends with the formation of the blastula.

Depending mostly on the amount of yolk in the egg, the cleavage can be holoblastic (total or entire cleavage) or meroblastic (partial cleavage). The pole of the egg with the highest concentration of yolk is referred to as the vegetal pole while the opposite is referred to as the animal pole.

Cleavage differs from other forms of cell division in that it increases the number of cells without increasing the mass. This means that with each successive subdivision, the ratio of nuclear to cytoplasmic material increases.

Mechanism

The rapid cell cycles are facilitated by maintaining high levels of proteins that control cell cycle progression such as the cyclins and their associated cyclin-dependent kinases (cdk). The complex CyclinB/cdc2 a.k.a. MPF (maturation promoting factor) promotes entry into mitosis.

The processes of karyokinesis (mitosis) and cytokinesis work together to result in cleavage. The mitotic apparatus is made up of a central spindle and polar aster made up of polymers of tubulin protein called microtubules. The asters are nucleated by centrosomes and the centrosomes are...
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