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Homology, Genes, and Evolutionary Innovation$
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Günter P. Wagner

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691156460

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691156460.001.0001

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Cell Types and Their Origins

Cell Types and Their Origins

(p.250) 8 Cell Types and Their Origins
Homology, Genes, and Evolutionary Innovation

Günter P. Wagner

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the developmental evolution of cell types, the lowest level of biological organization for which questions of identity (that is, cell identity) play a major role. Higher organisms consist of functionally specialized cells ranging from muscle cells to liver cells. These cells have been classified according to their function and their phenotype into cell types, such as striped and smooth muscle cells, neurons and glial cells. The chapter discusses the developmental genetics of cell types and reviews examples showing that cell type identity is subscribed by gene regulatory networks, focusing on the role of transcription factors, embryonic stem cells, and mammalian motor neurons in cell fate determination. It also considers the evolutionary origin of cell types and presents case studies of cell typogenesis. It suggests that the evolution of cell types is a critical proving ground for any theory of character identity and homology.

Keywords:   developmental evolution, cell types, cells, developmental genetics, cell type identity, gene regulatory networks, transcription factors, embryonic stem cells, cell fate, cell typogenesis

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