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The formation of a segmentation cavity or blastocoele within a mass of cleaving blastomeres and rearrangement of blastomeres around this cavity in such a way as to form the type of definitive blastula characteristic of each species. The blastocoele originates as an intercellular space which sometimes arises as early as the four- or eight-cell stage. Thus blastulation is initiated during early cleavage stages, and formation of the definitive blastula is thought to terminate cleavage and to initiate gastrulation. Initially the diameter of the blastula is no greater than that of the activated egg; subsequently it increases. See Gastrulation
The blastula is usually a hollow sphere. Its wall may vary from one to several cells in thickness. In eggs which contain considerable amounts of yolk the blastocoele may be eccentric in position, that is, shifted toward the animal pole. The animal portion of its wall is always completely divided into relatively small cells, whereas the vegetative portion tends to be composed of relatively large cells and may be incompletely cellulated in certain species. The blastocoele contains a gelatinous or jellylike fluid, which originates in part as a secretion by the blastomeres and in part by passage of water through the blastomeres or intercellular material, or both, into the blastocoele.
The wall of the blastula is a mosaic of cellular areas, each of which will normally produce a certain structure during subsequent development. In other words, each area of cells in the wall of the blastula has a certain prospective fate which will be realized in normal development.
the concluding phase of cleavage of the mammalian egg during which the blastula is formed.
During blastulation the surface cells of the embryo acquire the appearance of an epithelial layer, the central cavity (blastocoel) appears, cleavage of the blastomeres becomes asynchronous, the mitotic cycle lengthens, and the mitotic index decreases while the duration of the interphase increases. During blastulation nucleoli appear in the interphase nuclei of the cells and the synthesis of information ribonucleic acid (IRNA) starts, triggering the transition to gastrulation.