What is the Difference Between Fate Maps and Specification

The key difference between fate maps and specification is the stage at which it is constructed. While fate maps are constructed at the early blastula stage, specification maps are constructed at the late blastula stage.

Developmental biology is an important area of biological sciences that focus on the embryonic development of organisms, especially in the higher-level organisms, predicting the outcomes of embryonic development. Maps are important tools to predict the outcomes of embryonic development. Both fate maps and specification maps predict the outcomes of the different regions of the blastula during embryonic development.

CONTENTS

1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are Fate Maps  
3. What are Specification Maps
4. Similarities – Fate Maps and Specification
5. Fate Maps vs Specification in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Fate Maps and Specification

What are Fate Maps?

A fate map is a representation of the possible outcomes of each part of the embryo. It is a prospective approach to predict the development of each embryonic part. Therefore, a fate map is constructed at the very early blastula stage of embryonic development. When constructing the fate map, each distinct region known as primordia or rudiment is taken into consideration. A fate map is not a permanent representation. The fate map evolves with time as cell multiplication rates change relative to each other. However, they show a certain degree of similarity in the patterns they undergo change. Fate maps can be used to predict the epidermis, neural tube, notochord, blood, somatic muscle, and gut.

Figure 01: Fate Map

The main advantage of constructing a fate map during embryonic development is to predict embryological experiments and helps in tracing the cell lineage of various parts of the embryo. A fate map can be constructed using microscopic observations of embryonic development at various view angles. Furthermore, a fate map could also be constructed using probes and labels on different cells of the embryo.

What are Specification Maps?

A specification map is a more stable prediction about the development of various parts of a blastula. It is constructed at the later stage of the blastula stage. A specification map, therefore, is more committed and confirms the output of a fate map. Specification map construction takes place following a series of explant studies on the various regions of the embryo. Following the development of a specification map, different regions can be identified, such as the animal cap, the vegetal cap and the dorsal and the ventral marginal zones. Specification maps will give predictions on the future ectoderm, mesoderm, meso-endoderm, and the endoderm.

What are the Similarities Between Fate Maps and Specification?

  • Fate map and specification map are two maps that predict the outcomes of different regions of the embryo.
  • Both maps are constructed during the early embryonic development state.
  • Moreover, the construction of both maps can take place using microscopy or probing.
  • Both maps usually complement each other; however, they could change with time.
  • Furthermore, both maps can be very useful in the developmental biology of higher-level organisms.
  • Both maps are generated by constructing a series of maps.

What is the Difference Between Fate Maps and Specification?

Fate maps and specification maps are predictive tools to analyze the development of embryonic regions. They complement each other and show many similarities. The construction of a fate map takes place at the early blastula stage, while the construction of a specification map takes place at the late blastula stage. So, this is the key difference between fate maps and specification. Furthermore, each map predicts different outcomes. While fate maps predict the epidermis, neural tube, notochord, blood, somatic muscle, and the gut, specification maps will predict the ectoderm, mesoderm, meso-endoderm and endoderm. Moreover, the stability and the evolution of the specification map are more ensured as it is developed at a later stage in comparison to fate maps.

The below infographic lists the differences between fate maps and specification in tabular form for side by side comparison.

Summary – Fate Maps vs Specification

Development of fate maps and specification maps are important to predict the outcomes of the different regions of the embryo at the blastula stage. The fate maps are constructed during the early blastula stage, while specification maps are constructed during the late blastula stage. This is the key difference between fate maps and specification. Fate maps predict the development of regions such as epidermis, neural tube, notochord, blood, somatic muscle, and gut. Specification maps predict the development of ectoderm, mesoderm, meso-endoderm, and the endoderm. This is the summary of the difference between fate maps and specification.