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Genetic Tools for Cell Lineage Tracing and Profiling Developmental Trajectories in the Skin

By April 23, 2024No Comments

The epidermis is the body’s first line of protection against dehydration and pathogens, continually regenerating the outermost protective skin layers throughout life. During both embryonic development and wound healing, epidermal stem and progenitor cells must respond to external stimuli and insults to build, maintain, and repair the cutaneous barrier. Recent advances in CRISPR-based methods for cell lineage tracing have remarkably expanded the potential for experiments that track stem and progenitor cell proliferation and differentiation over the course of tissue and even organismal development. Additional tools for DNA-based recording of cellular signaling cues promise to deepen our understanding of the mechanisms driving normal skin morphogenesis and response to stressors as well as the dysregulation of cell proliferation and differentiation in skin diseases and cancer. In this review, we highlight cutting-edge methods for cell lineage tracing, including in organoids and model organisms, and explore how cutaneous biology researchers might leverage these techniques to elucidate the developmental programs that support the regenerative capacity and plasticity of the skin.