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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 1999 Oct;9(5):530-41.

A view from the genome: spatial control of transcription in sea urchin development.

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Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA.


The process of embryogenesis depends on differential regulation of genes in the spatial components defined by the embryonic cells (blastomeres). Developmental regulation is mediated by complex, hardwired genomic control systems consisting of clusters of multiple target sites at which specific interactions with regionally presented transcription factors occur. In the age of genomics and gene-transfer technology, the sea urchin embryo provides unique opportunities for experimental analysis of these processes. Research on gene regulation in sea urchin embryos in the past year has seen remarkable progress in two large areas: in understanding functional cis-regulatory architecture; and in understanding the mechanism by which the axial coordinates of the egg are transduced into a molecular system for differential gene activation.

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