Morphogens, their identification and regulation
During the course of development, cells of many tissues differentiate according to the positional information that is set by the concentration gradients of morphogens. Morphogens are signaling molecules that emanate from a restricted region of a tissue and spread away from their source to form a concentration gradient. As the fate of each cell in the field depends on the concentration of the morphogen signal, the gradient prefigures the pattern of development. In this article, we describe how morphogens and their functions have been identified and analyzed, focusing on model systems that have been extensively studied.