Int. J. Dev. Biol. 43: 693 - 709 (1999)
© UPV/EHU Press

Developmental tumours, early differentiation and the transforming growth factor beta superfamily.

C L Mummery and A J van den Eijnden-van Raaij

Hubrecht Laboratory, Netherlands Institute for Developmental Biology, Utrecht. christin@niob.knaw.nl

ABSTRACT Embryonal carcinoma and embryonic stem cells have been very useful models for identifying some of the factors that regulate differentiation in early mammalian development. Here, we present a brief history of their original isolation and characterization and of their later introduction into the Hubrecht Laboratory. We illustrate in a review their contribution to our current understanding of the function of transforming growth factor beta and ligands binding to the receptors of a related factor, activin, in development with some of our own work.