20410 Developmental Biology: Aspects, Principles and Unresolved Problems

Credits: 4 intermediate credits in Life Sciences

Prerequisites: none

Required: Vertebrates, Cell Structure and Function (single-semester format or year-long format)

Authors: Fanny Doljanski, Lea Ettinger

Developmental biology overlaps many branches of Biology and calls for their integration. Developmental processes, which begin at the moment of creation, do not cease once the embryo is fully developed, but rather continue throughout the life cycle of the organism. The course focuses on developmental processes of multicellular organisms.

The course introduces the student to major phenomena occurring during development and to implications of developmental studies for understanding both normal organisms and their pathological states. Experimental strategies that contributed to our knowledge of developmental processes are emphasized in the course. Despite recent advances in the understanding of the molecular and genetic basis of development, many questions remain unresolved; the course presents hypotheses that aim to provide a comprehensive explanation of developmental processes. The course also addresses the various interactions between developmental biology and other branches of the Life Sciences.

Topics: Basic concepts in development differentiation, morphogenesis and organogenesis; Fertilization and creating a zygote the starting point for development; Cleavage and blastula formation the first stage on the road to a multicellular organism; From blastula to gastrula and onwards laying the foundation for the organism structure; Induction processes cell interactions influence the development of tissues and organs; Cell-cultures principles of growing and developmental processes; The role of extra-cellular matrices in differentiation and morphogenesis; Cell-cell recognition a central process in morphogenesis; The cytoskeleton and its role in development; A tissue is more than an assembly of cells contact between cells and interaction through all junction types; Regeneration and development of the tetrapod limb; Growth factors in development cell-cell communication; Genes and development historical and conceptual review.