Fate mapping in animal development analysis

Fate Mapping:
Fate maps are created as a method of tracing a particular region or group of cells as they grow from an early embryo stage into a differentiated body stage.

The first fate maps were created in the 1880s, but the first one to get published was the fate map of a sea squirt in the year 1905.

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It is now very common to find fate maps of different animals.

Fate maps have been developed for several different model organisms, such as zebrafish, mice, frog, and chickembryos.

A fate map normally contains a diagram of an egg or blastula, representing information specifying the portions of an embryo or each cell that will eventually become parts or organs of larvae or adult structure.

The ultimate aim of creating a fate map is to construct a lineage diagram that not only gives positional information and designations of cells but also helps to trace the parental lineage of each division in an embryo.

Methods to Construct Fate Maps:

The most common fate mapping is performed by inserting a heritable genetic marker into a cell. Typically, this is coupled with a fluorescent protein that aids in visualization. Insertion can be done through molecular barcodes using retroviruses as inserts. Therefore, any cell in the early embryo stage will have this genetic mark. There are other fate mapping construction techniques as well. They are explained below:

Observing Living Embryos:

The embryos of invertebrates are transparent and have a very few daughter cells attached close to each other.

Therefore, they are easy to visualize through the microscope and trace the parental lineage of particular cells that evolve into organs.

Vital Dye Marking:

Certain embryos were found to have dye-withstanding capability. Thus, vital dye stains are used to visualize the cells without killing them.

Radioactive Labeling and Fluores¬cent Dyes:

In this technique, one area of the embryo is made radioactive. Thymidine is the most commonly used radioactive substance.

A donor embryo and host embryo are involved, in which the latter is grown under normal conditions. The cells from both embryos are grafted, and the parental lineage is visualized by using autoradiography.

Genetic Marking:

Genetic markers are golden standards for constructing fate maps.

For example, a graft is made between quail cells inside a chick embryo. By doing so, fine-structured maps of the chick’s brain and skeletal system can be constructed.

Fate Map of Vertebrates:
Fate map of amphioxus:

The fate map of Amphioxus can be constructed during the onset of cleavage, which is an early stage. Uncleaved egg cells representing presumptive organs are traced to be the future endodermal cells. These cells lie at the vegetal pole. However, the area at the animal pole is traced to form the presumptive ectodermal cells. The future mesoderm lies in-between the future ectoderm and the endoderm. Some of the regions were expected to give rise to the notochord and neural cells.

2. Fate map of frog:

The blastula of a frog is quite complex, as it has no indica¬tion even at 32 celled stages regarding how different cleavages will develop. The fate map of the frog blastula shows the presence of yolky macromeres at the vegetal pole, which are expected to give rise to the endoderm. On the other end, the animal pole gives rise to the ecto¬derm at the blastula stage. In-between the endoderm and ectoderm, the mesoderm gives rise to notochord and organs like the heart and kidney.

3. Fate map of chick:

The fate map of a chick represents the organization of epiblast cells around the notochord and nervous system. The ectoderm part is presented as a knob-like structure, whereas the mesoderm presented in the posterior portion is expected to give rise to a body part.

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