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Stem Cell Differentiation as a Non-Markov Stochastic Process - in the latest issue of Cell Systems September 2017

Published: 28 September 2017
Cell Systems Journal
Cell Systems Journal

An article published by the MacArthur group is featured on the cover of the latest issue of Cell Systems from 27th September 2017.

In their study, Patrick Stumpf and colleagues used single-cell gene expression profiling to investigate the differentiation dynamics of embryonic stem cells

These stem cells only exist for a short period during the earliest phase of development and their progeny become the specialised cell types that make up all the cells in the adult body.

It is of great importance that this process of stem cell differentiation is timed appropriately despite the large levels of noise that are present at the single cell level. Using mathematical modelling it was found that a robust way to time collective cell behaviour is if cells randomly hop through a chain of transition states that remain hidden to the observer.

Summary of the study
Summary of the study. Click image to read the full story

The proposed statistical mechanics view of stem cell differentiation provides a solid theoretical framework to investigate stem cell differentiation and reconciles observations of stem cell variability with the notion of fixed cell types that, sparked by recent advances in single cell profiling techniques, currently presents a matter of active debate in cell biology.

Link to research group website please click here.


Stumpf, P.S. et al. Stem Cell Differentiation as a Non-Markov Stochastic Process. Cell Systems 5;268-282.e7 (2017)

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