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Biotechniques. 2007 Jul;43(1 Suppl):20-4.

Building a dynamic fate map.

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Department of Physiology, Development, and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.


How the single-celled egg is transformed through the multicellular embryo into the structurally complex adult remains a significant challenge to developmental biologists today. Historically, fate maps have been used to follow the reorganization of tissue domains through pertinent stages of growth to predict the mechanisms by which the development of form takes place. However to understand the details of morphogenesis and the causes of errors in its execution, it is essential that we record and reconstruct the precise journeys of all cells and their progeny throughout the course of development. This article presents an overview of the key technologies used in the construction of such dynamic, high-resolution fate maps and highlights their real potential for quantitatively analyzing the physical basis of development.

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