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positional informationPositionsinformation (ger.)

  • The instructions that are interpreted by cells to determine their differentiation in respect of their position relative to other parts of the organism, for example digit formation in the limb bud of vertebrates.(

    It is suggested that there may be a universal mechanism whereby the translation of genetic information into spatial patterns of differentiation is achieved. The basis of this is a mechanism whereby the cells in a developing system may have their position specified with respect to one or more points in the system. This specification of position is positional information. Cells which have their positional information specified with respect to the same set of points constitute a field. Positional information largely determines with respect to the cells' genome and developmental history the nature of its molecular differentiation.

    Wolpert, L. (1969). Positional information and the spatial pattern of cellular differentiation. J. theor. Biol. 25, 1-47: 1.