Embryonic development is a complex and dynamic process that unfolds over time and involves the production and diversification of increasing numbers of cells. The impact of developmental time on the formation of the central nervous system is well documented, with evidence showing that time plays a crucial role in establishing the identity of neuronal subtypes. However, the study of how time translates into genetic instructions driving cell fate is limited by the scarcity of suitable experimental tools. We introduce BirthSeq, a new method for isolating and analyzing cells based on their birth date. This innovative technique allows for in vivo labeling of cells, isolation via fluorescence-activated cell sorting, and analysis using high-throughput techniques. We calibrated the BirthSeq method for developmental organs across three vertebrate species (mouse, chick and gecko), and utilized it for single-cell RNA sequencing and novel spatially resolved transcriptomic approaches in mouse and chick, respectively. Overall, BirthSeq provides a versatile tool for studying virtually any tissue in different vertebrate organisms, aiding developmental biology research by targeting cells and their temporal cues.

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