Animal Developmental Biology


The course analyzes the molecular mechanisms that underlie the development of organisms. Specific topics include:

  • Molecular mechanism of cell determination and differentiation: genomic equivalence and vertebrate cloning; mechanisms of cell specification (autonomous, syncytial, conditional); transdifferentiation and dedifferentiation. 
  • Transcriptional regulation in embryogenesis: zinc finger transcription factors (C2H2, nuclear receptors); leucin zipper transcription factor; HLH transcription factors; HTH transcription factors (homeodomain proteins); 
  • Post-transcriptional regulation in embryogenesis: RNA localization; strategies of translation initiation and its control (by 5’UTR, 3’UTR). Molecular control of embryonic pattern formation: molecular mechanisms of anterior-posterior axis specification  in Drosophila: maternal effect genes, segmentation genes (gap genes, pair-rule genes and segment polarity genes), homeotic selector genes; mammalian anterior-posterior axis formation and expression of Hox genes. 
  • Embryonic induction: general classification of inductions; mesoderm induction during amphibian development; induction of limb bud in vertebrates; positional information during development; 
  • Programmed cell death during development: functions of embryonic apoptosis; classification of cell death; extrinsic (death receptor pathway) and intrinsic (the mitochondrial pathway)  pathways of apoptosis; apoptotic receptors; adaptor proteins; caspase; DNA degradation; recognition and phagocytosis of apoptotic cell
  • Fertilization: external fertilization in sea urchins; mammalian fertilization; twin pregnancy; parthenogenesis; gynogenesis; hybridogenesis.


1.      Chromatin Dimunition. Reading:







Last updated at: November 11, 2015.