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A soluble molecule secreted at a distance from the target cells that specifies the fates of cells. A morphogen may specify more than one cell type by forming a concentration gradient.
morphogen/mor·pho·gen/ (mor´fah-jen) a substance in embryonic tissue that forms a concentration gradient and influences morphogenesis.
Any of various chemicals in embryonic tissue that influence the movement and organization of cells during morphogenesis by forming a concentration gradient.
1 a soluble substance that controls the embryonic differentiation of a cell or tissue.
2 a substance secreted by one group of cells that causes a specific change in the growth and differentiation of a different group.
morphogen(1) Any substance (e.g., retinoic acid) that triggers growth, proliferation and differentiation of cells and tissues in a concentration-dependent fashion.
(2) Any molecule that orchestrates the development of an organism from the stage of a single cell to early embryogenesis.