Successful development requires both precise timing of cellular processes, such as division and differentiation, and tight coordination of timing between tissues and organs. Yet, how time information is encoded with high precision and synchronized between tissues, despite inherent molecular noise, is unsolved. Here, we propose the nematode C. elegans as a unique model system for studying body-wide control of developmental timing. Recent studies combining genetics, quantitative analysis, and simulations have 1) mapped core timers controlling larval development, indicating temporal gradients as an underlying mechanism, and 2) elucidated general principles that make timing insensitive to inherent fluctuations and variation in environmental conditions. As the molecular regulators of C. elegans developmental timing are broadly conserved, these mechanisms likely apply also to higher organisms.

Elsevier B.V.
Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev.
Quantitative Developmental Biology

Patil, G., & van Zon, J. (2024). Timers, variability, and body-wide coordination: C. elegans as a model system for whole-animal developmental timing. Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. (Vol. 85, pp. 102172: 1–8). doi:10.1016/j.gde.2024.102172