Breaking Rank: How Identical Cells Take on Different Fates


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


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.


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