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Welcome to SBC 141: Developmental Biology

Instructor: Mathew Piero Ngugi Class email: sbc151@gmail.com Password: biology Lectures:Tuesday 7:00 - 9:00 am

Textbook: Scott Gilbert, Developmental Biology 8th edition This book is recommended, not required While further reading is highly recommended, all information from the lectures takes precedence over what is in the text book.

COURSE OUTLINE 1. Introduction 2. Model organisms used in developmental studies 3. Embryogenesis 4. Pattern formation 5. Morphogenesis 6. Differentiation 7. Molecular and cellular aspects of development

NB: Experimental systems will be explored at length

INTRODUCTION What is developmental biology? 1. The field of biological science that tries to understand how we go from a fertilized egg to an adult animal or plant. 2. The study of the process by which organisms grow and develop Modern developmental biology studies the genetic control of cell growth, differentiation and morphogenesis

Developmental biology is a great field for scientists who want to integrate different levels of biology. We can take a problem and study it on the molecular and chemical levels. For Instance; 1. How are globin genes transcribed, and how do the factors activating their transcription interact with one another on the DNA? 2. On the cellular and tissue levels, which cells are able to make globin, and how does globin mRNA leave the nucleus?

3. On the organ and organ system levels, how do the capillaries form in each tissue, and how are they instructed to branch and connect? 4. At the ecological and evolutionary levels, how do differences in globin gene activation enable oxygen to flow from mother to fetus, and how do environmental factors trigger the differentiation of more red blood cells?

The development of a new life is a spectacular process and represents a masterpiece of temporal and spatial control of gene expression. Developmental genetics studies the effect that genes have in a phenotype, given normal or abnormal epigenetic parameters. The findings of developmental biology can help to understand developmental abnormalities such as chromosomal aberrations that cause disorders like Down syndrome.
An understanding of the specialization of cells during embryogenesis has revealed how stem cells specialize into specific tissues and organs.

This information has led, for example, to the cloning of specific organs for medical purposes. Another biologically important process that occurs during development is apoptosisprogrammed cell death or "suicide." Many developmental models are used to elucidate the physiology and molecular basis of this cellular process. Similarly, a deeper understanding of developmental biology can foster greater progress in the treatment of congenital disorders and diseases
e.g. studying human sex determination can lead to treatment for disorders such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

Developmental biology is one of the fastest growing and most exciting fields in biology, creating a framework that integrates molecular biology, physiology, cell biology, anatomy, cancer research, neurobiology, immunology, ecology, and evolutionary biology. The study of development has become essential for understanding any other area of biology.


Model Organisms used in Development The application of molecular genetics and DNA technology, along with the study of developmental mutants, has revolutionalized the field of development In order to study broad biological principles, researchers often choose a model organism that is representative of a larger group, well suited for answering particular types of research questions, and easy to grow in the laboratory.

1. The fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster has a long history as a model organism for genetic studies. Its genome is 180 million base pairs (Mb) and contains about 13,700 genes. Although its early embryology differs from that of other animals, research on Drosophila development has provided key information about animal development. 2. The transparent nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has several advantages as a model organism i. Its ease of culture and short generation ii. Its hermaphroditic reproduction that allows for easy detection of recessive mutations

iii. Its small number of cells that has allowed researchers to reconstruct the ancestry of every adult cell. Its genome is 97 Mb long and has about 19,000 genes 3. Researchers have already developed a great deal of knowledge of the mouse Mus musculus They are now able to manipulate genes to make transgenic mice and mice in which genes are knocked-out by mutation Their large genome (2,600 Mb with 25,000 genes) and in utero development are disadvantageous

4. The zebrafish Danio rerio reproduces in large numbers and has transparent embryos that develop outside the mother. Its genome is estimated at 1,700 Mb and is still being mapped and sequenced 5. Arabidobsis thaliana, a small plant in the mustard family, is easily grown in test tubes, is selffertilizing, produces large number of offsprings, and has a relatively small genome (about 118 Mb with an estimated 25,500 genes