The dependence of Nematostella germ cell specification on zygotic Hedgehog pathway activity supports the hypothesis that the eumetazoan common ancestor segregated its germline by inductive signals rather than maternal determinants.
Genomic analysis of Xenopus gastrula reveal that the transcription factor Sox17 interacts with the Wnt signaling effector ß-catenin on enhancers to regulate the transcriptional program underlying endoderm germ layer formation.
ATAC-seq, CRISPR/Cas9 mutagenesis, reporter and gene expression assays revealed dynamic chromatin accessibility profiles governing differential gene expression during heart vs. pharyngeal muscle fate choices in the powerful chordate model Ciona.
OCT4 and SOX2 display partially independent activity to regulate chromatin accessibility, and highly dynamic activity of OCT4 is required throughout the cell cycle to maintain pluripotency enhancer accessibility.
Quantitative genetic analyses reveal remarkably broad genetic variation underlies the requirement for two critical regulatory inputs into a core embryonic gene regulatory network within one animal species.