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Why cells differentiate or specialize is an ephemeral question. I'll make an attempt to answer--the more specialized cells an organism has, the better equipped that organism is to function. In a given organism, differentiation after n divisions or after t time during development is due to changes that are both intrinsic (genetic) or extrinsic ...


You may want to look into "Evolutionary - Developmental Biology", which deals with how an embryo develops into a grown organism. Thus, by combinatorial specifying the identity of particular body regions, Hox genes determine where limbs and other body segments will grow in a developing embryo or larva. A paragon of a toolbox gene is Pax6/eyeless, ...

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