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Development. 1997 Mar;124(6):1133-7.

Following cell fate in the living mouse embryo.

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Dept of Genetics, University of Cambridge, UK.


It has been difficult to follow many of the dramatic changes in cell fate and cell migration during mouse development. This is because there has been no enduring marker that would allow cells to be recognised in the living embryo. We believe that we have overcome this problem by developing a novel form of green fluorescent protein, named MmGFP, that proves to be easily visible and non toxic to mouse cells and does not perturb embryogenesis. We show that synthetic mRNA encoding MmGFP can be injected into blastomeres to follow the fate of their progeny during preimplantation development. We have made a stable embryonic stem cell line that expresses MmGFP and introduced these fluorescent cells into mouse embryos. For the first time, we have been able to follow the fate of embryonic stem cells in living embryos and to observe directly the contribution of these cells to distinct lineages of the postimplantation embryo. This approach should lead to a more complete description of the dynamics of cell fate in the mouse.

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