Early Embryos Kept in Check
December 13, 2017
(Nature) – During embryonic development, cells differentiate into particular lineages according to information about their position in the embryo. This adoption of a particular cellular identity often triggers changes in the organization of the embryo, which, in turn, results in new positional information. These cycles of differentiation and morphogenesis are key to normal development — but how do embryos coordinate them? One way is to implement checkpoints, similar to those in place during the cell cycle, to block progression until specific criteria are met. In a paper online in Nature, Shahbazi et al. report just such a checkpoint during early development in mammals.