One hundred years of positional information

Trends Genet. 1996 Sep;12(9):359-64. doi: 10.1016/s0168-9525(96)80019-9.


One mechanism by which spatial patterns of cell differentiation could be specified during embryonic development and regeneration is based on positional information. Cells acquire a positional value with respect to boundaries and then interpret this in terms of a programme determined by their genetic constitution and developmental history. The signals and the molecular basis of such a system have both been rather well conserved. Recent work has shown that cells can respond to quite small differences in the concentrations of molecules whose concentration could provide positional information.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Forecasting
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Regeneration / physiology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Xenopus / embryology
  • Xenopus / genetics