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Nat Rev Genet. 2016 Dec;17(12):744-757. doi: 10.1038/nrg.2016.127. Epub 2016 Nov 7.

The origin and evolution of cell types.

Author information

1
Developmental Biology Unit, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Meyerhofstrasse 1, 69012 Heidelberg, Germany.
2
Centre for Organismal Studies, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 230, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.
3
Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge, Anatomy Building, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DY, UK.
4
Department of Systems and Computational Biology, Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience, and Department of Pathology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1301 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.
5
Santa Fe Institute, 1399 Hyde Park Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501, USA.
6
Department of Genetics and Department of Ophthalmology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
7
Department of Paleobiology, MRC-121, Smithsonian Institution, PO Box 37012, Washington, DC 20013-7012, USA.
8
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Perinatal Institute, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229-3026, USA.
9
School of Natural Science and Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI), Biomedical Science Building, Newcastle Road, Galway, Ireland.
10
CUBE, Department of Microbial Ecology and Ecosystem Sciences, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria.
11
School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, PO Box 4501, Tempe, Arizona 85287-4501, USA.
12
Marine Biological Laboratory, 7 MBL Street, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA.
13
Yale Systems Biology Institute and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, USA.
14
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science, Yale University Medical School, New Haven, Connecticut 06510, USA.
15
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA.

Abstract

Cell types are the basic building blocks of multicellular organisms and are extensively diversified in animals. Despite recent advances in characterizing cell types, classification schemes remain ambiguous. We propose an evolutionary definition of a cell type that allows cell types to be delineated and compared within and between species. Key to cell type identity are evolutionary changes in the 'core regulatory complex' (CoRC) of transcription factors, that make emergent sister cell types distinct, enable their independent evolution and regulate cell type-specific traits termed apomeres. We discuss the distinction between developmental and evolutionary lineages, and present a roadmap for future research.

PMID:
27818507
DOI:
10.1038/nrg.2016.127
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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