Cell Grafting and Labeling in Postimplantation Mouse Embryos

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1. Introduction

Fate mapping experiments provide direct information on the differentiation pathways normally taken by cells or tissues during embryogenesis. Systematic analyses of the developmental fate of cell populations localized in different parts of the embryo enables the construction of fate maps. A comparison of the expression pattern of lineage-specific genes and the fate map allows the identification of precursor tissue for cell lineages well before definitive histogenesis takes place. The ability to trace the early lineage history of cells greatly facilitates the elucidation of the forces and processes that lead to the specification of cell lineages and the determination (or commitment) of cell fate. The knowledge of cell fate may also assist the interpretation of the phenotype of mutant embryos produced by either spontaneous mutation or gene knockout experiments.

This chapter describes the technical aspect of fate mapping the mouse embryo during gastrulation (6. ...