Generating a global view of cell lineage trees during early mouse embryo development


  • Sarah Bowling

    University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Project summary

All life starts out as one single cell which divides to generate every single cell type in the body. How this incredibly complex process is achieved still remains a mystery in biology. 

This project aims to use a new technology to mark cells in the developing mouse embryo with unique ‘barcodes’. By comparing cells with shared barcodes, we can infer relationships between cells and use this knowledge to build up an ancestry tree of development. The technology also allows us to investigate the mechanisms and pathways involved in cell differentiation. 

We aim to use our findings to build a map of cell fate decisions during development and to answer basic questions in biology such as understanding how cells from different tissues are connected and calculating how many founder cells make up each organ. Among the applications of this analysis will be improving tissue regeneration protocols to benefit patients.