Biology 441   VERTEBRATE EMBRYOLOGY   Spring Semester 2010    Albert Harris

MWF 11-12 Wilson 107
Textbook: J. M. W. Slack "From Egg to Embryo" Regional Specification in Early Development
Slack's book concentrates on the molecular mechanisms & genes that control development;
He assumes readers already know basic embryology, and concentrates on experiments & concepts.

Office Room 103 Wilson Hall: Office Hours Monday noon until 2:00; Friday noon until 4:00 and at other times by appointment

1) Mon. Jan 11 Basic concepts of embryonic development (Please read Slack: Chapter one; web page)
2) Wed. Jan 13 Blocks to polyspermy; resting potentials, responses of cells to voltages.
3) Fri. Jan. 15 Comparison of development & gastrulation in urchins, fish, frogs, birds & mammals
(Please read Slack pages 112 to page 126; also read pages 67 through page 112))
  Mon. Jan 18        No class: Holiday in honor of Martin Luther King
4) Wed. Jan. 20: Early dev. of birds and mammals (Read Slack pages 195 through 212, & 171-194)
5) Fri. Jan. 22: fate mapping; cell lineages; regulative versus mosaic development; induction; homeotic genes
(Please read Slack Chapter 2 = pages 9 through 31 ; Don't bother to memorize his glossary)
6) Mon. Jan. 25: Ectoderm; neurulation; brain development; neural crest, placodes, lens, inner ear
7) 7) Wed. Jan. 27: Mesoderm: notochord; somites; dermatome; myotome; sclerotome
8) Fri. Jan. 29: Intermediate mesoderm; development of kidneys, sex ducts; heart & coelom
9) Mon. Feb. 1: Endoderm; digestive tract, lungs, liver etc. Stomodeum.
10) Wed. Feb. 3: Primordial germ cells and review for exam.
  A list of review questions will be posted; Knowing everything on it should be sufficient for a B+ or A-
11) Fri. Feb. 5: First hour exam (some short answer & essays, some short answer)
12) Mon. Feb. 8: Theoretical embryology; Reaction diffusion systems
13) Wed. Feb. 10: Symmetry; reflection symmetry, displacement symmetry; "breaking symmetry"
14) Fri. Feb. 12: Mechanical forces in embryos; how cells crawl, epithelia fold, and cartilage swells.
15) Mon. Feb. 15: Sorting out by differentiated and randomly mixed cells; what does it tell us?
16) Wed. Feb. 17: Curvature, tension, elasticity. Quantities are to vectors, as vectors are to...? tensors!
17) Fri. Feb. 19: How do forces create shapes; Homeostasis of geometrical shapes
18) Mon. Feb. 22: Theories about "Positional Information", and alternatives to them.
19) Wed. Feb. 24: Genes that control axis formation in flies: What Slack calls "The Breakthrough"
(Please read chapter seven in Slack, and try to get the main ideas; we won't learn every detail.)
Fri. Feb. 26: Hox gene transcription patterns in vertebrates, including mice & humans.
21) Mon. Mar. 1: Review of subjects since the first exam. A list of sample exam questions will be posted.
22) Wed. Mar. 3: Second hour exam
23) Fri. Mar. 5: Developmental mechanisms in plants, as compared with animal embryology
         March 8-12 spring break
24) Mon. Mar. 15: - Developmental mechanisms in plants, as compared with animal embryology
25) Wed. Mar. 17: Development of the circulatory system
26) Fri. Mar. 19: Development of teeth.
27) Mon. Mar. 22: Development in embryos with especially mosaic development. Chapter 5 of Slack
28) Wed. Mar. 24: Development in embryos with especially mosaic development
29) Fri. Mar. 26: Cellular slime molds as a model for understanding how embryos develop
30) Mon. Mar. 29: Regeneration
31) Wed. Mar. 31: Stages in the history of embryology: Preformationism, Recapitulationism, etc.
 Fri. Apr. 2:        No Class: Good Friday
32) Mon. Apr. 5: Review of material since the previous exam: a list of sample questions will be posted
33) Wed. Apr. 7: Third Exam (covering subjects described since the second exam)
34) Fri. Apr. 9: Birth defects, and their relation to normal mechanisms of body formation
35) Mon. Apr. 12: Metamorphosis
36) Wed. Apr. 14: Wound healing in relation to normal embryological mechanisms
37) Fri. Apr. 16: Cancer, and cell invasiveness, in relation to normal development
38) Mon. Apr. 19: Cancer, and cell invasiveness, in relation to normal development
39) Wed. Apr. 21: Embryology of the immune system, & autoimmune diseases like MS, RA, Lupus
39) 40) Fri. Apr. 23: Embryology of the immune system, & autoimmune diseases like MS, RA, Lupus
41) Mon. Apr. 26: Future directions in embryological research
42) Wed. Apr. 28:- Review of material covered all semester
  Classes End
  Final Exam Monday May 3rd, 12:00 pm


contact the webmaster

back to index page