Stochastic neuronal cell fate choices

Robert J. Johnston, Claude Desplan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Though many neuronal cell fate decisions result in reproducible outcomes, stochastic choices often lead to spatial randomization of cell subtypes. This is often the case in sensory systems where expression of a specific sensory receptor gene is selected randomly from a set of possible outcomes. Here, we describe recent findings elucidating the mechanisms controlling color photoreceptor subtypes in flies and olfactory receptor subtypes in worms and mice. Although well-known biological concepts such as lateral signaling and promoter selection play roles in these cases, fundamental questions concerning these choice mechanisms remain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-27
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Neurobiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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