Menu

Studies Show How Cells Differentiate at Life’s Beginning

A trio of papers provide new insight into embryo development.

Apr 27, 2018
Shawna Williams

A zebrafish embryoSTILL FROM A VIDEO BY FENGZHU XIONG AND SEAN MEGASON/HMSBy profiling gene expression in thousands of embryonic zebrafish and frog cells, researchers at Harvard University have refined the picture of how early development occurs. In a trio of papers published yesterday (April 26) in Science, two separate research groups also compare results to find common and divergent features of the embryos of zebrafish and frogs.

“With single-cell sequencing, we can, in a day’s work, recapitulate decades of painstaking research on the decisions cells make at the earliest stages of life,” says Allon Klein, an author of two of the papers, in a statement.

In all of the studies, the researchers separated individual cells in embryos and analyzed which messenger RNA molecules were present in them to build a profile of which genes were in use. One of the studies then computationally pieced together different stages of development over the first day of growth for a zebrafish embryo. Another examined how embryonic cells differentiate in frogs, and how the process compared with that of zebrafish. In the third paper, also performed on zebrafish, researchers found that, surprisingly, cells that had started down a path to becoming one type of differentiated cell could switch and pursue a different fate.

“I think the future of development will be to routinely single-cell sequence embryos,” Detlev Arendt, an evolutionary developmental biologist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, who was not involved in the studies, tells Science.

April 2019

Will Car T Cells Smash Tumors?

New trials take the therapy beyond the blood

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Getting More Consistent Results by Knowing the Quality of Your Protein
Getting More Consistent Results by Knowing the Quality of Your Protein
Download this guide from NanoTemper to learn how to identify and evaluate the quality of your protein samples!
Myth Busting: The Best Way to Use Pure Water in the Lab
Myth Busting: The Best Way to Use Pure Water in the Lab
Download this white paper from ELGA LabWater to learn about the role of pure water in the laboratory and the advantages of in-house water purification!
Shimadzu's New Nexera UHPLC Series with AI and IoT Enhancements Sets Industry Standard for Intelligence, Efficiency and Design
Shimadzu's New Nexera UHPLC Series with AI and IoT Enhancements Sets Industry Standard for Intelligence, Efficiency and Design
Shimadzu Corporation announces the release of the Nexera Ultra High-Performance Liquid Chromatograph series, incorporating artificial intelligence as Analytical Intelligence, allowing systems to detect and resolve issues automatically. The Nexera series makes lab management simple by integrating IoT and device networking, enabling users to easily review instrument status, optimize resource allocation, and achieve higher throughput.
IDT lowers genomic barriers with powerful rhAmpSeq™ targeted sequencing system
IDT lowers genomic barriers with powerful rhAmpSeq™ targeted sequencing system
Increasing accuracy and reducing cost barriers, IDT’s innovative system delivers simple and cost-effective amplicon sequencing