Mutations that affect the division of cells or the fates of their progeny cells. Cell lineage mutants generally fall into two broad classes. The first contains mutations that affect general cellular processes, such as cell division or DNA replication. Mutants perturbing the cell division cycle have been analyzed most extensively in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The second class of mutations shows a striking specificity in their effects. For example, cell lineage mutants are known in Caenorhabditis elegans where particular cells are transformed to generate lineages or to adopt differentiated fates characteristic of cells normally found in different positions, at different times, or in the opposite sex. Some of these mutants result from transformations in cell fates. For example, a particular cell “A” will adopt the fate of another cell “B,” and this results in the loss of the cells normally generated by A and the duplication of cells normally generated by B. Such transformations resemble the homeotic mutations (q.v.) of Drosophila. In Caenorhabditis, mutations of this type are generally symbolized by lin. See Chronology, 1983, Greenwald et al.; developmental control genes, heterochronic genes, selector genes.
Subjects: Genetics and Genomics.