Cell differentiation



The normal process by which a less specialized cell develops or matures to possess a more distinct form and function.


For example, a single-celled zygote develops into a multicellular embryo that further develops into a more complex multisystem of distinct cell types of a fetus. The cell size, shape, polarity, metabolism and responsiveness to signals change dramatically such that a less specialized cell becomes more specialized and acquires a more specific role.

Variant: cellular differentiation.

Compare: dedifferentiation.

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