Time is inherent to biological processes. It determines the order of events and the speed at which they take place. However, we still need to refine approaches to measure the course of time in biological systems and understand what controls the pace of development. Here, we argue that the comparison of biological processes across species provides molecular insight into the timekeeping mechanisms in biology. We discuss recent findings and the open questions in the field and highlight the use of in vitro systems as tools to investigate cell-autonomous control as well as the coordination of temporal mechanisms within tissues. Further, we discuss the relevance of studying tempo for tissue transplantation, homeostasis and lifespan.
Keywords: allochrony; developmental biology; developmental timing; homeostasis; stem cells; tempo.
© 2021 The Authors.