Primitive erythroblasts in the circulating blood of the chick embryo continue to divide while synthesizing hemoglobin (Hb). Hb measurements on successive generations of erythroblasts show that there is a progressive increase in the Hb content of both interphase and metaphase cells. Furthermore, for any given embryo the Hb content of metaphase cells is always significantly greater than that of interphase cells. The distribution of Hb values for metaphase cells suggests that there are six Hb classes corresponding to the number of cell cycles in the proliferative phase. The location of erythroblasts in the cell cycle was determined by combining Feulgen cytophotometry with thymidine radioautography on the same cells. Measurements of the Hb content for erythroblasts in different compartments of the cell cycle (G1, S, G2, and M) show a progressive increase through the cycle. Thus, the amount of Hb per cell is a function of the number of cell divisions since the initiation of Hb synthesis and, to a lesser degree, the stage of the cell cycle. Earlier generations of erythroblasts synthesize Hb at a faster rate than the terminal generation. Several models have been proposed to explain these findings.

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