Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
In order to provide an ontogenetic basis for the establishment of tetrapod muscle homologies and for the analysis of complex mammalian muscle states, a descriptive analysis of the morphogenesis of the thigh of Mus musculus has been made. The pattern and sequence of muscle cleavage and the migrations of individual muscle primordia are characterized from the eleventh day of gestation, when cleavage begins, through early neonatal stages. Observations on skeletal differentiation and lumbosacral plexus formation are also included. Thigh muscle morphogenesis is compared to that in the lizard, Lacerta, (Romer, '42) and the chick (Romer, '27) and homologies identified. An ontogenetic basis for the definition of ancestral and derived muscle states is provided in muscles that are morphologically variable in mammals. These include the gluteus minimus, gracilis, adductor brevis and several hamstring muscles. Certain muscles that show variable innervation patterns in adult mammals, i.e., pectineus, quadratus and adductor magnus, typically develop from premuscle regions that separate muscle anlagen innervated by different nerves. Two muscle anlagen appear in the embryonic mouse thigh and then disappear late in prenatal or early postnatal development. Comparisons with other mammals, especially the marsupial, Marmosa, reveal that these muscles are phylogenetic vestiges that degenerate before maturity. A sartorius vestige is identifiable through the thirteenth day of gestation. A tenuissimus anlage is present until shortly after birth and is clearly innervated by a branch of the peroneal nerve.
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