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Open Access Highly Accessed Opinion

Cilia, calcium and the basis of left-right asymmetry

Dominic P Norris

Author Affiliations

Mammalian Genetics Unit, MRC Harwell, Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, Oxfordshire, OX11 0RD, UK

BMC Biology 2012, 10:102  doi:10.1186/1741-7007-10-102

Published: 19 December 2012

Abstract

The clockwise rotation of cilia in the developing mammalian embryo drives a leftward flow of liquid; this genetically regulated biophysical force specifies left-right asymmetry of the mammalian body. How leftward flow is interpreted and information propagated to other tissues is the subject of debate. Four recent papers have shed fresh light on the possible mechanisms.