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.
- 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)