News FocusDevelopmental Biology

Many Modes of Transport for an Embryo's Signals

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Science  13 Aug 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5430, pp. 1003-1005
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5430.1003

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New studies are offering a first glimpse into what may be a complex transportation system within the developing embryo. In contrast to the classic paradigm in which a developmental signaling molecule diffuses freely from its source, researchers are discovering that embryos may use intracellular "railroads" and newly discovered cellular extensions to actively ship key signaling molecules from place to place. Although the work is preliminary and few papers have sewn up the details of these new modes of transport, the findings are giving development researchers new food for thought.