The dynamic process of neural tube formation and neural crest migration in live, unstained cultured avian embryos at Hamburger-Hamilton (H.H.) stages 8-11 was investigated by time-lapse cinematography using a high-definition microscope.

Neural tube formation and neural crest migration: a new view with time-lapse high-definition photomicroscopy.
These studies have demonstrated that neural tube closure in the trunk region differs from that observed in the head. The cephalic neural folds elevate slowly, then make contact rapidly. Following this initial apposition, they gradually "zip-up" in the rostrad and caudad direction. In the trunk region where the neuroepithelium bulges adjacent to the somites, the edges of the folds pulsate and forcefully touch-retract-touch in these bulging regions; the intersomitic epithelia retract, remain open even after more posterior somitic regions have apposed, and then close slowly. Epithelial blebs were observed at the leading edges of the neuroepithelia. Between the open folds only a few bridging cells were seen; they probably represent the sites of initial cell adhesion following epithelial retraction. Focusing into the developing embryo shows that neuroepithelial fusion occurs prior to surface epithelial fusion. A meshwork of synchronously pulsating neural crest cells was identified below the surface epithelium and a preliminary investigation of their initial migration was conducted.

For details, see Jaskoll et al., 1991
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