Filtering transcriptional noise during development: concepts and mechanisms

Nat Rev Genet. 2006 Jan;7(1):34-44. doi: 10.1038/nrg1750.


The assignation of cell fates during eukaryotic development relies on the coordinated and stable expression of cohorts of genes within cell populations. The precise and reproducible nature of this process is remarkable given that, at the single-cell level, the transcription of individual genes is associated with noise - random molecular fluctuations that create variability in the levels of gene expression within a cell population. Here we consider the implications of transcriptional noise for development and suggest the existence of molecular devices that are dedicated to filtering noise. On the basis of existing evidence, we propose that one such mechanism might depend on the Wnt signalling pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Genome
  • Humans
  • Markov Chains
  • Models, Genetic
  • Receptors, Notch / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism
  • beta Catenin / metabolism


  • Receptors, Notch
  • Wnt Proteins
  • beta Catenin