Towards understanding the roles of position and geometry on cell fate decisions during preimplantation development.
Biggins JS., Royer C., Watanabe T., Srinivas S.
The first lineage segregation event in mouse embryos produces two separate cell populations: inner cell mass and trophectoderm. This is understood to be brought about by cells sensing their position within the embryo and differentiating accordingly. The cellular and molecular underpinnings of this process remain under investigation and have variously been considered to be completely stochastic or alternately, subject to some predisposition set up at fertilisation or before. Here, we consider these views in light of recent publications, discuss the possible role of cell geometry and mechanical forces in this process and describe how modelling could contribute in addressing this issue.