Cell Choreography

Science  01 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5595, pp. 919o
DOI: 10.1126/science.298.5595.919o

In the developing vertebrate, cells spun out along the midline from the moving point of gastrulation will later become segmented into somites, which will go on to form muscle and other tissues. With the use of advanced imaging techniques, this process, which has long been thought to resemble a knife cutting through a loaf of bread, is now seen to be a much more complex choreography of cell movements and changes in gene expression. Kulesa and Fraser (p. 991) observed cell movements in the live chick embryo and found that as each somite cleaves from the younger segmental plate, cells move caudally and rostrally across the incipient somite border. Domains of gene expression thought to relate to somite determination do not specify fate of all individual cells, as cells move into and out of differing domains of expression.

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