The laboratory mouse model plays important roles in our understanding of early mammalian development and provides an invaluable model for human early embryos, which are difficult to study for ethical and technical reasons. A comprehensive collection of cDNA clones, their sequences, and complete genome sequence information, which have been accumulated over the past two decades, reveal even further the value of the mouse models. Here, the progress in global gene expression profiling in early mouse embryos and, to some extent, stem cells is reviewed and future directions and challenges are discussed. The discussions include the restatement of global gene expression profiles as a snapshot of cellular status, and subsequent distinction between the differentiation state and physiological state of the cells. The discussions then extend to the biological problems that can be addressed only through global expression profiling, including a bird's-eye view of global gene expression changes, molecular index for developmental potency, cell lineage trajectory, microarray-guided cell manipulation, and the possibility of delineating gene regulatory cascades and networks.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology