Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 72, Issue 8, pp 1577–1583 | Cite as

Mammary lineage tracing: the coming of age

  • Sanja Sale
  • Kresimir Pavelic


Identification and characterization of the normal epithelial lineages in the mammary gland is a fundamental step in understanding both development and cellular origin of cancer. In contrast to other tissues where lineage tracing has been widely accepted as a method of choice for dissecting the stem cell hierarchy, mammary gland has long remained a challenge due to its unique developmental and topological features. Recent advances in high-resolution single-cell imaging, combined with the use of inducible Cre-recombinase and in situ cell ablation, have provided unprecedented insight into mammary epithelial cell composition and function. Here, we briefly summarize and compare different mammary gland lineage tracing strategies, examine associated caveats and discuss future challenges and opportunities.


Breast Lineages Fate mapping In situ cell ablation Cell-of-origin Genetically engineered mouse models Topological context 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyUniversity of RijekaRijekaCroatia

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