|Open Access Green|
Mechanistic models of blood cell fate decisions in the era of single-cell data.
Billions of functionally distinct blood cells emerge from a pool of hematopoietic stem cells in our bodies every day. This progressive differentiation process is hierarchically structured and remarkably robust. We provide an introductory review to mathematical approaches addressing the functional aspects of how lineage choice is potentially implemented on a molecular level. Emerging from studies on the mutual repression of key transcription factors we illustrate how those simple concepts have been challenged in recent years and subsequently extended. Especially the analysis of omics data on the single cell level with computational tools provide descriptive insights on a yet unknown level, while their embedding into a consistent mechanistic and mathematical framework is still incomplete.