A morphogen is a substance governing the pattern of tissue development, and the positions of the various specialized cell types within a tissue. More precisely, a morphogen is a signaling molecule that acts directly on cells to produce specific cellular responses depending on the local concentration of the morphogen.

Since morphogens diffuse through the tissues of an embryo during early development, concentration gradients are set up. These gradients drive the process of differentiation of unspecialised (stem) cells into different cell types, ultimately forming all the tissues and organs of the body.

Read more about Morphogen:  History, Mechanism, Genes and Signals, Fruit Fly

Other articles related to "morphogen, morphogens":

Morphogen - Fruit Fly
... a result, in fly embryos transcription factors such as Bicoid or Hunchback can act as morphogens because they can freely diffuse between nuclei to produce smooth gradients of concentration without ... syncytia occur only rarely (such as in skeletal muscle), and morphogens are generally secreted signalling proteins ... of signal transduction to communicate the level of morphogen to the nucleus ...
Eyespot (mimicry) - Evolution of The Eyespot At The Molecular Level - Morphogenetic Models
... on the butterfly wing eyespot foci are indicative of a long range signaling mechanism or morphogen gradient, both in its spacial and temporal aspects ... model, in which the focus is the morphogen source and, 2) the sink model, in which the focus is generating a gradient by removal of the morphogen at the foci ...
French Flag Model
... The French Flag Model is a conceptual definition of a morphogen, described by Lewis Wolpert in the 1960s ... A morphogen is rigorously defined as a signaling molecule that acts directly on cells (not through serial induction) to produce specific cellular responses dependent ... During early development, morphogen gradients generate different cell types in distinct spatial order ...