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community effect is an interaction amongst nearby uncommitted cells to maintain
gene expression and differentiate uniformly (Gurdon et al., 1993a; Standley et al., 2001). The
observation that muscle differentiation is dependent on a community effect of
mesoderm cells, in the Xenopus
embryos, was first described by John B. Gurdon in “A community effect in muscle
development” (Gurdon et al., 1993a). Conclusions included;
a large number of cells are required for the community effect, ectoderm cells
have an inhibitory effect towards muscle differentiation, community effect is still
effective in the absence of cell movement and division, a myogenic signal is
emitted from the dorso-lateral mid gastrula stage, gap junction communication
is unnecessary for the community effect and the community effect is different
to mesoderm induction.

The
experiments that Gurdon devised to arrive at these conclusions where all based
around the observation that mesoderm-forming induction from vegetal tissue was
not enough to form muscle precursor cells. Schematics of the experiment in
Fig.1, where it shows that only cells that are reaggregated and cultured in
ectoderm sandwiches express XMyoD protein (a protein present in nuclei of
muscle precursor cells (Hopwood et al., 1992)) further
transplantation experiments (Kato and Gurdon, 1993) confirmed the
notion that muscle precursor cells need more that induction by vegetal tissue
to commit to muscle differentiation.

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