Breaking Rank: How Identical Cells Take on Different Fates

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This image, captured by Ni Ji of the Van Oudenaarden Laboratory, shows key steps in the development of a C. elegans worm.

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Ni Ji
Van Oudenaarden Lab, Department of Physics and Department of Biology and MIT Koch Institute
Epi-Fluorescence Micrograph 

A multicellular organism like a human develops, incredibly, from just one embryonic cell.  This image captures a snapshot of this process in a developing worm.  At this moment, two seemingly identical neural stem cells move apart and begin to give rise to cells that will be distinct and specialized in the adult worm.

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Ni Ji explains how and why she captured this snapshot of development in a worm.