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Differentiation

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Definition

noun

(developmental biology) The normal process by which a less specialized cell develops or matures to become more distinct in form and function

(medicine) The determination of which among the diseases with similar symptoms is the one that the patient is suffering, especially through a systematic method


Supplement

Differentiation in (developmental biology) refers to the normal process by which a less specialized cell undergoes maturation to become more distinct in form and function. It is also called cell differentiation. For example, a single-celled zygote develops into a multicellular embryo that further develops into a more complex multisystem of various cell types of a fetus. The cell size, shape, polarity, metabolism and responsiveness to signals change dramatically such that the less specialized cell becomes more specialized and acquires a more specific role.

In medicine, the term differentiation pertains to the determination of which among the diseases with similar symptoms is the one that the patient is suffering, especially through a systematic method.


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Related term(s):

Related form(s):

  • differentiated (adjective, a cell or tissue that experienced or has undergone differentiation, i.e. the form and function are altered from being generalized to being more specific)
  • differentiate (verb, to become different, distinct or specialized, especially in form or function; to undergo cell differentiation; to develop or mature; to evolve into a new species; to speciate)