Developmental Biology 2023-24
School Of Natural Sciences
Module - Semester 1
This module will introduce students to key concepts in developmental biology, and use a series of case studies to show how changes to embryonic development lead to changes in morphology, and what it means for human and animal health when these processes go wrong.
Students will apply several key developmental biology techniques to a number of classical model systems, which may include fruitflies, zebrafish and chickens. Students will gain an appreciation of important practical molecular biology techniques and will also be exposed to relevant primary literature thorough the module.
Some of the topics covered in this module may include:
- Reproductive systems and gametogenesis
- Comparative development of vertebrate and invertebrate nervous systems
- Homeobox genes
- Development and disease
- Stem cells, metamorphosis and regeneration
The module will allow students to apply several key developmental biology techniques to a number of classical model systems, which may include fruitflies, zebrafish and chickens. Students will gain an appreciation of important practical molecular biology techniques and will also be exposed to relevant primary literature thorough the module.
-Threshold - (D- to D+) The student should be able to express a basic conceptual knowledge of at least some part of the core material presented in the module, and be able to appreciate the complexity of embryonic development in the various model systems. Provides little to no examples, or interprets them incorrectly. Written work presents at least a superficial account of all major steps.
-Good - (B- to B+) The student should be able to express a thorough conceptual knowledge of much of the core material presented in the module, and have a competent and detailed ability to critically evaluate the principles and processes of embryonic development. Some detailed examples are provided, and are interpreted correctly. Some evidence of further reading and ability to integrate material from the full range of the lecture and practical content. Written work shows some evidence of problem solving and presents sufficient detail that most of the experiments/steps could be repeated using this alone.
-Excellent - (A- to A**) The student should demonstrate comprehensive conceptual and factual knowledge, critical understanding of theory, evidence of extra reading of primary literature and the ability to integrate this extra knowledge in a relevant manner. Extensive use of examples, including those not presented in class. Written work shows clear evidence of additional reading or research, and records steps taken in solving identified problems or trouble-shooting techniques. Experiments are recorded in a highly detailed and logical manner and could be used to repeat every step with no additional information.
- Appreciate the importance of practical techniques in embryology and molecular biology
- Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the key models and techniques used to study animal development, and critically appraise the relevant ethical and legal issues associated with their use
- Demonstrate an ability to apply background knowledge and independent research in order to interpret experimental results and to solve problems, and to understand and critique relevant primary literature
- Demonstrate detailed knowledge and broad conceptual understanding of animal development, from fertilisation, through to axis formation, organogenesis, and regeneration
- Gain an appreciation of the diversity of processes involved in animal development, and the ways in which these have been repurposed during animal evolution
- Gain an appreciation of the links between development and human and animal disease
Exam (Centrally Scheduled)
Essay-based exam, comprising a semi-seen question and an unseen question
Students will identify a model species and provide a summary of its history and importance to the field of developmental biology