1. Developmental Biology
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Totipotency: A developmental insurance policy

  1. Nestor Saiz
  2. Anna-Katerina Hadjantonakis  Is a corresponding author
  1. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, United States
Cite this article as: eLife 2017;6:e26260 doi: 10.7554/eLife.26260
1 figure


Cell differentiation in mammalian embryos.

Cells that develop into the trophectoderm (TE) express the transcription factor CDX2 (denoted here as CDX2+) and commit to their cell fate at around the 32-cell stage. Cells that will develop into the inner cell mass (ICM) keep their options open and only commit to their cell fate at a time between the 32- and 64-cell stage; these cells do not express CDX2 (denoted here as CDX2-). As embryos grow from the 32- to the 64-cell stage, ICM cells start to differentiate into two new cell lineages: the embryonic epiblast (future fetus) and the extra-embryonic primitive endoderm (future yolk sac).

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