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How embryos work: a comparative view of diverse modes of cell fate specification

Davidson, Eric H. (1990) How embryos work: a comparative view of diverse modes of cell fate specification. Development, 108 (3). pp. 365-389. ISSN 0950-1991.

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Embryonic processes in the nematode C. elegans, the gastropod mollusc Ilyanassa, the dipteran Drosophila, the echinoid Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, the ascidian Ciona, the anuran Xenopus, the teleost Brachydanio and mouse are compared with respect to a series of parameters such as invariant or variable cleavage, the means by which the embryonic axes are set up, egg anisotropies and reliance on conditional or on autonomous specification processes. A molecular interpretation of these modes of specification of cell fate in the embryo is proposed, in terms of spatial modifications of gene regulatory factors. On this basis, classically defined phenomena such as regulative development and cytoplasmic localization can be interpreted at a mechanistic level, and the enormous differences between different forms of embryogenesis in the Animal Kingdom can be considered within a common mechanistic framework. Differential spatial expression of histospecific genes is considered in terms of the structure of the gene regulatory network that will be required in embryos that utilize cell-cell interaction, autonomous vs conditional specification and maternal spatial information to differing extents. It is concluded that the regulatory architectures according to which the programs of gene expression are organized are special to each form of development, and that common regulatory principles are to be found only at lower levels, such as those at which the control regions of histospecific structural genes operate.

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Additional Information:© 1990 Company of Biologists Limited. Accepted 22 December 1989. Research from the laboratory was supported by an NIH grant (HD-05753), and the development of some of the ideas was initiated with a project supported by a Lucille P. Markey Trust Grant in Developmental Biology. I am deeply grateful for the perspicacity, depth of knowledge and great generosity of the many reviewers who contributed so much of their time in criticizing drafts of the manuscript, and whose encouragement and insights have affected it in so many ways. These are Drs James W. Posakony of UC San Diego, Michael Levine of Columbia University, Corey Goodman of UC Berkeley, Richard Whittaker of MBL, Scott Fraser of UC Irvine, Dennis Powers of Hopkins Marine Station, and Barbara Evans, Andrew Cameron, Ellen Rothenberg, Paul Sternberg and Roy Britten at Caltech.
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Lucille P. Markey Charitable TrustUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:variable cleavage; invariant cleavage; axis determination; cell fate; conditional specification; autonomous specification; gene regulation; regulative development, cytoplasmic localization, cell-cell interaction; gene expression, maternal role; C. elegans; Drosophila; Strongylocentrotus purpuratus; Ciona; Xenopus; Brachydanio; mouse
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120424-132635942
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:30288
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:25 Apr 2012 20:43
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 03:49

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