Biology 351 -Developmental Biology

Note to students: all material for this course is available on Desire2Learn

Developmental Biology is the study ofthe molecular and cellular events that lead to the generation of a multicellular organism from a fertilized egg.  Although much is known about the morphological changes that take place during development, there is a lesser understanding of the mechanisms by which these changes occur.  Because of this lack of knowledge, and because of the interest in understanding how something as complex as a human being can develop from a single cell, Developmental Biology is one of the most active areas of biological research today.

In essence, Developmental Biology is a study of cell differentiation; to its extreme extent, development of an entire organism from a single cell involves several stages of differentiation and cell interaction.  The course will investigate the cellular and molecular processes involved in generating an embryo, in creating various tissues and organs, and the effect of external stimuli on development.


Upon completion of this course,students will be expected to:

    * Be familiar with the genes and cellular mechanisms responsible for development.
    * Understand the cellular and molecular events involved in the generation and fusion of gametes prior to and during fertilization.
    * Describe the morphological changes that occur during early embryogenesis, including the events of cleavage, axis formation, gastrulation, and neurulation.
    * Understand how tissue layers form and how different organs are derived from each embryonic layer.
    * Understand how gene expression and cell signaling regulate developmental processes, and how cells with identical DNA content can have different developmental fates.
    * Be able to identify several organisms used fo rstudying developmental processes, and describe the similarities found in the development of these very dissimilar organisms.
    * Establish the relationship between developmental biology and other branches of biology such as anatomy, ecology, andevolution.

Students who take this courseshould have successfully completed Biology 142 and 142 (lecture and lab).  It is recommended (but not required) that students take a 200- level laboratory course prior to taking Biology 351. Students must concurrently enroll in the lecture and laboratory portions of the course.

Sample Syllabus::
1 Welcome and Introduction (lecture and lab)
2 Introduction to developmental biology
3 Basic developmental patterns and life cycles
4 Cell specification and morphogenesis
5 Genes and development
6 Differential gene expression
7 Cell communication
 ***** EXAM I *****
8 Fertilization
9 Cleavage and gastrulation
10 Drosophila development
11 Amphibian development
12 Early development in higher vertebrates
 ***** EXAM II *****
13 Neurulation and epidermis generation
14 Neural crest and the peripheral nerves
15 Myogenesis, osteogenesis, and urogenesis
16 Cardiac and visceral development
17 Limb development
18 Sex determination
 ***** EXAM III *****
19 Metamorphosis, regeneration,and aging
20 Germ cells, spermatogenesis,and oogenesis
21 Medical embryology
22 Environmental Influence ondevelopment
23 Implications for evolution
 ***** EXAM IV *****