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Cell. 2007 Jan 26;128(2):245-56.

Morpheus unbound: reimagining the morphogen gradient.

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Department of Developmental and Cell Biology, Developmental Biology Center and Center for Complex Biological Systems, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA.


The theory that the spatial organization of cell fate is orchestrated by gradients of diffusing molecules was a major contribution to 20th century developmental biology. Although the existence of morphogens is no longer in doubt, studies on the formation and function of their gradients have yielded far more puzzles than answers. On close inspection, every morphogen gradient seems to use a rich array of regulatory mechanisms, suggesting that the tasks carried out by such systems are far more extensive than previously thought.

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