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Each cell in an embryo attains a certain fate. This is known as the commitment of the cell. Now, this commitment is done in two stages- Specification and determination. The fate of a cell or a tissue is said to be specified when it has the capacity of differentiating autonomously on being placed in a neutral environment such as a petri dish or test tube.

Cell specification can be done in three ways.
  • In autonomous cell specification, if a particular blastomere is removed from an embryo early in its development, that isolated blastomere will lead to the production of the same cells that it would have made if it were still part of the embryo. The embryo from which that cell is taken will lack those cells (and only those cells) that would have been produced by the missing blastomere.
  • In conditional cell specification, each cell originally has the ability to become many different cell types. However, the interactions of the cell with other neighboring cells restrict the fate of one or both of the participants. 
  • In syncytial cell specification, interactions occur not between cells, but between parts of one cell. In early embryos of insects, cell division is not complete. 
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