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Developmental Aspects of Vertebrate Chromatophores

Joseph T. Bagnara
American Zoologist
Vol. 23, No. 3 (1983), pp. 465-478
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3882931
Page Count: 14
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Developmental Aspects of Vertebrate Chromatophores
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Abstract

Melanophores, xanthophores, and iridophores are fundamentally distinct chromatophores in their appearance, composition, and function. All migrate from their neural crest site of origin to populate the integument. Their respective pigments, melanins, pteridines, and purines are found in organelles designated respectively as melanosomes, pterinosomes and reflecting platelets. These organelles are all derived from an endoplasmic reticular vesicle. This is in keeping with a hypothesis about the common origin of pigment cells from a stem cell containing a primordial organelle with the potential of becoming any of the circumscribed pigmentary organelles. It is believed that chromatoblasts may not be specifically determined until they reach a final destination where they will differentiate in accordance with a pattern already specified in the integument. In leopard frogs, it appears that the initial induction of pattern in the skin is general, but later it becomes highly specific.

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