Cell fate determination
Stark, Michael R. Department of Physiology, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
Last reviewed:May 2021
- Progressive fate restriction
- Three steps to cell fate: competence, specification, and commitment
- Discovering the molecular regulators of cell fate determination
- Application: stem cell fate determination
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The process whereby naive embryonic cells establish their future identity or adult cell type. During the process of embryonic development, a single fertilized egg produces the many cell types found in the adult organism. This fascinating process, during which cells divide, grow, change in shape and position, and finally take on one of many differentiated fates, has been a primary focus of developmental biologists for decades (see illustration). Thus, researchers have studied how the fate of pluripotent cells (cells that have the ability to become many different cell types) is eventually determined, and many experimental approaches have contributed to a strong knowledge of the core mechanisms that direct cell fate. Advances have centered on understanding the genetic and molecular regulators of cell fate determination and on how information gained from studying the process in embryogenesis can be applied to other fields, such as stem cell research. See also: Cell (biology); Cell differentiation; Developmental biology; Embryogenesis; Embryology; Stem cells
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