Skip to main content

Vocabulary Term Details

Cell differentiation

Definition (

In developmental biology, cell differentiation is the process by which a less specialized cell becomes a more specialized cell type. Differentiation occurs numerous times during the development of a multicellular organism as the organism changes from a simple zygote to a complex system of tissues and cell types. Differentiation is a common process in adults as well: adult stem cells divide and create fully differentiated daughter cells during tissue repair and during normal cell turnover. Differentiation dramatically changes a cell's size, shape, membrane potential, metabolic activity, and responsiveness to signals. (Wikipedia)

Preferred Units: N/A

Scope Note:

Broader TermsNarrower TermsRelated Terms
Biological development
Sex differentiation
Embryonic development

This term is used for the following terms: 
Cellular differentiation
Tissue differentiation

Approved Date

Click here to give feedback on this term or suggest an update.