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Cell and Molecular Biology
Last year, we celebrated the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology awarded for the discoveries of the molecular basis of daily rhythms in cells. These circadian (~24 h) rhythms are common across phyla and cell types. In vertebrates, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) synchronizes circadian rhythms in behavior and physiology to the external light cycle, but the mechanisms by which this occurs are unclear.
Biological systems can be quite complex for intuitive interpretations. This is especially true in developmental biology, where robust patterns are established and maintained dynamically in ever-changing and inhomogeneous multicellular environments. Despite the discovery of many key regulatory modules in growth, morphogenesis and fate specification, we still understand little on how such modules are precisely executed, particularly when small initial differences may induce sharp segregation of developmental decisions.