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What tells one cell to do or become one thing while another cell does or becomes something else?

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If you are referring to the development of the human body while in the womb, it would be the Hox Gene.
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Cytokines, chemokines, and general hormones are the cell messaging mechanisms in higher organisms. Transcription factors and gene expression products play big roles, too.
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When the genetic code is always the same how does one cell become a brain cell and another a skin cell?

  While the DNA in one's cells may be the same, not all of the genes are active at the same time. Some genes code for proteins that regulate the expression of other genes,
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How can one cell become a chick?

By influence of the environment (the uterus, and hormones), the fertilized ovum (single cell) replicates its genetic content and divides, resulting in two cells. These two cel