Differentiation in mouse embryo development is represented formally by means of a stem-line model in which: 1. Individual choices are structured so that only a fraction of the cells of a given population receive a signal to undergo a change of state that results in a departure from the stem line. 2. Development proceeds by a series of restrictions in potency of all the cells in the stem line. 3. The stem line harbours the germ cells. 4. The germ cells are returned to a state of totipotency by some event(s) leading to meiosis.