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Cell. 1985 Jul;41(3):923-32.

Mapping the distribution of differentiation potential for intestine, muscle, and hypodermis during early development in Caenorhabditis elegans.


We have analyzed the differentiation potential of cells in early embryos of Caenorhabditis elegans by assessing the production of markers for intestinal, muscle, and hypodermal cell differentiation in cleavage-arrested blastomeres. Our results show that differentiation potential does not always segregate during cleavage in a linear fashion, i.e., a blastomere can express a differentiation potential that is absent in its parent blastomere and vice versa. Furthermore, the expression of a particular differentiation program by certain cleavage-arrested blastomeres is an exclusive event in that each cell will express only one program of differentiation, even though it may have the potential to express several.

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