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I am aware that cells are differentiated into their particular functions. Furthermore, cells reproduce constantly. However, how do these cells "know" where their "cosmetic boundaries" are? For example, why don't your lip cells reproduce right into your cheek area? Why don't eyebrow-producing epithelial cells grow hair up into your forehead?
Question Date: 2006-07-24
Answer 1:

Cells are always communicating with each other. Gradients of differing chemicals which may counteract or work together can create"boundaries" between types of cells. These "chemicals" interact (sometimes directly with the chromosome and other times through cascading signals that eventually come down to some kind of interaction with the chromosome) in very,very complex ways to control gene expression ... most of these interactions weare just scratching the surface of. I hope this kind of answers your question.

Answer 2:

Cells do not reproduce constantly. Cell replication in multicellular organisms (including humans) is controlled by a large set of genes that produce hormones both locally and globally. Cells react to these chemicals and signals from other cells in deciding what specialized function to perform and when to divide. In animals, the most famous of these genes are the HOX complex, which determine the patterning of tissues along the length of the body, but there are many others. Plants use very different hormones to determine their growth, having become multicellular from different unicellular ancestors from animals, but they, too, use hormones to control their development. I do not know how multicellular algae (e.g. kelp), or fungi, do this, but I presume their methods are similar.

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