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Cell Regen (Lond). 2018 Oct 12;7(2):33-39. doi: 10.1016/ eCollection 2018 Dec.

Illumination of neural development by in vivo clonal analysis.

Xu M1,2, Wang J1, Guo X1,2, Li T1,2, Kuang X1, Wu QF1,2,3.

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Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China.
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China.
Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China.


Single embryonic and adult neural stem cells (NSCs) are characterized by their self-renewal and differentiation potential. Lineage tracing via clonal analysis allows for specific labeling of a single NSC and tracking of its progeny throughout development. Over the past five decades, a plethora of clonal analysis methods have been developed in tandem with integration of chemical, genetic, imaging and sequencing techniques. Applications of these approaches have gained diverse insights into the heterogeneous behavior of NSCs, lineage relationships between cells, molecular regulation of fate specification and ontogeny of complex neural tissues. In this review, we summarize the history and methods of clonal analysis as well as highlight key findings revealed by single-cell lineage tracking of stem cells in developing and adult brains across different animal models.


In vivo clonal analysis; Lineage tracing; Neural development; Neural stem cells; Nuclear brain structure

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