Pluripotency in adulthood and embryogenesis

In all animals a pluripotent state exists during early embryogenesis, in the form of the zygote. Similar to the situation for pluripotent adult stem cells, descendants of the zygote at some point specialize into lineages. However, whether the molecular processes used during specification by adult pluripotent stem cells and embryonic pluripotent cells are the same, is unknown.

We analyze the gene expression profiles of the zygote and its early descendants and compare expression changes during embryonic cell specification to those during adult cell specification in order to reveal which aspects of pluripotency and cell specification are essential, and which aspects can vary depending on the context.