Lineage tracking

Lineage tracking methods follow the position and behaviour of cells and their descendents over time. Cells are typically labelled and/or imaged in real time or at frequent time intervals to determine their lineage.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Reviews |

    In this Review, Mallat and colleagues critically evaluate the studies on the origin, fate and functions of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) in atherosclerosis, highlighting the importance of developmental origin, clonal expansion and plasticity of VSMCs cells in atherosclerosis and summarizing the roles of VSMCs and VSMC-derived cells in plaque development and progression.

    • Gemma L. Basatemur
    • , Helle F. Jørgensen
    • , Murray C. H. Clarke
    • , Martin R. Bennett
    •  & Ziad Mallat
  • Reviews |

    In this Review, Sheth and Wang describe emerging synthetic biology approaches for using DNA as a memory device for recording cellular events, including the various methodological steps from detecting diverse signals, converting them into DNA alterations and reading out and interpreting the recorded information. Furthermore, they discuss potential applications as biotechnological and environmental biosensors.

    • Ravi U. Sheth
    •  & Harris H. Wang
  • Research | | open

    Hepatocytes are highly specialized cells and their fate is determined by their position in the liver as either periportal or perivenous hepatocytes. Here, Pu et al. show through genetic lineage tracing for Mfsd2 that periportal hepatocytes proliferate and reprogram into pericentral hepatocytes during liver regeneration and injury.

    • Wenjuan Pu
    • , Hui Zhang
    • , Xiuzhen Huang
    • , Xueying Tian
    • , Lingjuan He
    • , Yue Wang
    • , Libo Zhang
    • , Qiaozhen Liu
    • , Yan Li
    • , Yi Li
    • , Huan Zhao
    • , Kuo Liu
    • , Jie Lu
    • , Yingqun Zhou
    • , Pengyu Huang
    • , Yu Nie
    • , Yan Yan
    • , Lijian Hui
    • , Kathy O. Lui
    •  & Bin Zhou

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Early studies showing that KIT+ cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) could differentiate into cardiomyocytes generated excitement regarding their potential therapeutic application. Subsequent studies called their functional relevance into question, and while claims for a contribution of KIT+ CPCs to myocardial regeneration continue, two new studies confirm the doubts about their relevance to cardiomyogenesis and provide unexpected new insights.

    • Giovanni Maroli
    •  & Thomas Braun
  • Research Highlights |

    Three new studies in Nature and Nature Biotechnology report methods for dissecting transcriptomic cell phenotypes and lineage history simultaneously by combining single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) with CRISPR-based lineage tracing.

    • Darren J. Burgess
  • Research Highlights |

    Using DNA barcoding, Lan et al. investigated the clonal evolution and dynamics of glioblastoma cells, and propose a model whereby proliferative heterogeneity is derived from stochastic fate decisions made by a homogeneous population of glioblastoma stem cells and their progeny.

    • Conor A. Bradley
    Nature Reviews Cancer 17, 574-575
  • News and Views |

    Skeletal muscles are composed of different types of fibres. Can these be thought of as distinct lineages with specific lineage-restricted progenitors? A provocative study now proposes that mesenchymal cells expressing the transcription factor Twist2 act as myogenic progenitors with selective type IIb fibre-differentiation potential.

    • Natalya A. Goloviznina
    •  & Michael Kyba
    Nature Cell Biology 19, 153-154
  • News and Views |

    Delineating the behaviour of haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in vivo has thus far proven challenging. Two studies in zebrafish and mouse models now track HSCs in vivo using fate mapping with multicolour approaches to provide further insights into clonal events that regulate blood development, HSC function and differentiation during homeostasis and stress conditions.

    • Trista E. North
    •  & Wolfram Goessling