The transformation of the model organism: a decade of developmental genetics

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Abstract

The past decade has seen the development of powerful techniques to dissect the molecular processes that regulate development. New tools have been used to reveal the basis of cell polarity, morphogen gradients and regulation of signaling in developing animals. Cell biology and developmental biology have become closely intertwined, and many genes that had been thought of as regulators of general cell biological (housekeeping) functions have been shown to act as specific developmental regulators. Vertebrate developmental genetics is now flourishing, with forward and reverse genetics in both zebrafish and the mouse providing new dimensions to our understanding of development.

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Figure 1: Cell and tissue polarity revealed by GFP fusions.
Figure 2: Stable activation of gene expression using the flp-out technique.
Figure 3: Induction of labeled clones of mutant cells using FRT-mediated somatic recombination.
Figure 4: Negative feedback loops restrict the spatial and temporal range of signaling molecules.
Figure 5: Covalent modification is one mechanism used to modulate the activity of proteins required for intercellular signaling.
Figure 6: Whole-mount in situ hybridization makes it easier to visualize the anatomy of the mouse embryo.
Figure 7: Identification of mutations in zebrafish.
Figure 8: Two strategies for forward genetics in the mouse identify new genes important in development.

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Correspondence to Kathryn V. Anderson.

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Anderson, K., Ingham, P. The transformation of the model organism: a decade of developmental genetics. Nat Genet 33, 285–293 (2003) doi:10.1038/ng1105

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