Pattern formation


Pattern formation is the developmental process by which cells acquire different identities, depending on their relative spatial positions within the embryo. Pattern formation ensures that tissues and organs develop in the correct place and orientation within the body.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Work from the early 1980s reported strange lobes protruding from Caenorhabditis elegans germ cell precursors. However, the fate and potential significance of these lobes remained unexplored for decades. Now, neighbouring endodermal cells are shown to sever and digest these lobes, in an unexpected process of 'intercellular cannibalism', which could play an important part in regulating primordial germ cells.

    • Jennifer K. Heppert
    •  & Bob Goldstein
    Nature Cell Biology 18, 1267–1268
  • News and Views |

    Modelling organs in culture has great potential to improve our understanding of development, organogenesis and disease. While some endodermal derived organs have been modelled, the corpus region of the stomach, where acid-producing cells reside, remained an invincible target. A 60-day differentiation protocol now enables the generation of functional acid-producing cells in culture, conquering the challenge.

    • Meritxell Huch
    Nature Cell Biology 17, 966–967
  • News and Views |

    Spatial hearing in birds and mammals is more alike than previously thought in its patterns of developmental plasticity, physiological responses, and the computations employed to interpret binaural cues and map the environment.

    • Shihab A Shamma
    Nature Neuroscience 18, 168–169
  • News and Views |

    The endoderm layer destined to be primitive gut is a mosaic of earlier visceral endoderm and definitive endoderm that arises later, during gastrulation. Live imaging now reveals that in mouse embryos, definitive endoderm cells egress from underlying mesoderm and intercalate into the overlying cell layer. This process requires SOX17-mediated control of basement membrane organization.

    • Angela C. H. McDonald
    •  & Janet Rossant
    Nature Cell Biology 16, 1128–1129