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The precise establishment of gene expression patterns is a crucial step in development. Formation of a sharp boundary between high and low spatial expression domains requires a genetic mechanism that exhibits sensitivity, yet is robust to fluctuations, a demand that may not be easily achieved by morphogens alone. Recently, it has been demonstrated that(More)
Morphogens are proteins, often produced in a localized region, whose concentrations spatially demarcate regions of differing gene expression in developing embryos. The boundaries of gene expression are typically sharp and the genes can be viewed as abruptly switching from on to off or vice versa upon crossing the boundary. To ensure the viability of the(More)
An important question in developmental biology is how relatively shallow gradients of morphogens can reliably establish a series of distinct transcriptional readouts. Current models emphasize interactions between transcription factors binding in distinct modes to cis-acting sequences of target genes. Another recent idea is that the cis-acting interactions(More)
Stem cell divisions are either asymmetric-in which one daughter cell remains a stem cell and one does not-or symmetric, in which both daughter cells adopt the same fate, either stem or non-stem. Recent studies show that in many tissues operating under homeostatic conditions stem cell division patterns are strongly biased toward the symmetric outcome,(More)
A major goal of human genetics is to elucidate the genetic architecture of human disease, with the goal of fueling improvements in diagnosis and the understanding of disease pathogenesis. The degree to which epistasis, or non-additive effects of risk alleles at different loci, accounts for common disease traits is hotly debated, in part because the(More)
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