Digital development: a database of cell lineage differentiation in C. elegans with lineage phenotypes, cell-specific gene functions and a multiscale model

Nucleic Acids Res. 2016 Jan 4;44(D1):D781-5. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkv1119. Epub 2015 Oct 25.


Developmental systems biology is poised to exploit large-scale data from two approaches: genomics and live imaging. The combination of the two offers the opportunity to map gene functions and gene networks in vivo at single-cell resolution using cell tracking and quantification of cellular phenotypes. Here we present Digital Development (, a database of cell lineage differentiation with curated phenotypes, cell-specific gene functions and a multiscale model. The database stores data from recent systematic studies of cell lineage differentiation in the C. elegans embryo containing ∼ 200 conserved genes, 1400 perturbed cell lineages and 600,000 digitized single cells. Users can conveniently browse, search and download four categories of phenotypic and functional information from an intuitive web interface. This information includes lineage differentiation phenotypes, cell-specific gene functions, differentiation landscapes and fate choices, and a multiscale model of lineage differentiation. Digital Development provides a comprehensive, curated, multidimensional database for developmental biology. The scale, resolution and richness of biological information presented here facilitate exploration of gene-specific and systems-level mechanisms of lineage differentiation in Metazoans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / cytology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation* / genetics
  • Cell Lineage* / genetics
  • Databases, Factual*
  • Models, Biological
  • Phenotype