Combinations and Commonality: Studying Differentiation of Cells

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Submitted by Daniel Miller of the Gupta Laboratory at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

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This image shows human mammary epithelial cells marked with combinations of fluorescent proteins that allow us to track their lineage to a common ancestral cell. We study normal human mammary epithelial differentiation, and this experiment allows us to ask basic questions about the relationship between differentiation and proliferation. We were attempting to learn how the differentiation of cells relates to their rate of, and capacity for, cell division.