Notch signaling is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism adapted to control binary fate decisions. The first evidence of Notch in pancreatic development focused on its critical role in controlling endocrine fate decisions. Since then, we have come to understand that this signaling system operates iteratively in the pancreas, and is not limited to the control of endocrine fate decision. Notch appears to play a role in early organ development, then during organ domain patterning, and only during a final refinement process, in the control of terminal cell fates. In so doing, Notch receptors and their ligands are under the influence of a wealth of genetic components that together help orchestrate the building of a complex, glandular organ.
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