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Animal embryogenesis is the process by which the embryo develops from the fertilised egg cell. Important events that occur during embryogenesis are gastrulation, formation of the early nervous system and initiation of organogenesis.
The role of stem/progenitor cell populations in mammary gland morphogenesis is not well understood. Here, the authors show that a transcriptional repressor, Blimp1, is expressed in a rare luminal stem cell population, which contribute to duct formation, and survive multiple rounds of pregnancy and involution.
In the Drosophila embryo, increased cortical contractility in ventral cells causes furrow formation and gastrulation. Here, the authors show that contractility is regulated by Neuralized (an E3 ubiquitin ligase) in ventral cells, and that inhibiting this process with Bearded in the ectoderm causes furrow invagination.
In the mouse embryo, anterior-posterior polarity is established by distal visceral endoderm (DVE) at embryonic day 5.5 but how this arises is unclear. Here, the authors show that expression of Lefty1 earlier can define DVE, and that future DVE cells are selected by Nodal signalling and stochasticity.
Understanding of how epigenetic information is acquired, processed and transmitted through cell division, and potentially across generations, remains limited. Mechanistic studies aiming to elucidate the molecular underpinnings of these phenomena may provide insights into development, disease susceptibility and evolution.