The process of taking a piece of tissue and transplanting it into a novel location has been of paramount importance for life sciences. The technique of transplantation has served an important role in providing a basic understanding of all facets of biology ranging from cancer and evolutionary biology to developmental biology. First employed by early embryologists, transplantation has played a particularly critical role in elucidating virtually every aspect of embryonic development including cell specification, commitment, cell fate determination, embryonic induction, and plasticity. This review will detail the essential role cell transplantation experiments have played in uncovering fundamental developmental and cell biological processes as well as their valuable contribution to contemporary developmental biology. Finally, it will suggest fruitful directions that this technique, in conjunction with current molecular and sequencing technologies, could play in future work.
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