As with many mammalian organs, size and cellular complexity represent considerable challenges to the comprehensive analysis of kidney organogenesis. Traditional analyses in the mouse have revealed early patterning events and spatial cellular relationships. However, an understanding of later events is lacking. The generation of a comprehensive temporospatial atlas of gene expression during kidney development has facilitated advances in lineage definition, as well as selective compartment ablation. Advances in quantitative and dynamic imaging have allowed comprehensive analyses at the level of organ, component tissue and cell across kidney organogenesis. Such approaches will enhance our understanding of the links between kidney development and final postnatal organ function. The final frontier will be translating this understanding to outcomes for renal disease in humans.
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