The Foundations of Developmental Biology
What is developmental biology, and why has it emerged as one of the most dynamic and exciting areas of biological investigation?
Nothing in nature is more fascinating than the development of a complex, multicellular organism that progressively acquires the essential attributes of its parents. Developmental biologists study all aspects of development, from the genes and molecular events that control development to the structural changes that an organism undergoes as it develops. They study various modes of development, from embryonic development of animals and plants to aggregation of slime mold amebae, flowering of plants or regeneration of limbs in salamanders. Like historians, developmental biologists establish the linkage between events occurring on a time scale, sorting out the sequential events that lead to changes in form and function during an organism's lifetime. It is this dynamic aspect of developmental biology - the emphasis on change - that holds such great fascination and makes it such a challenging scientific discipline.
The contemporary study of developmental biology is facilitated by a vast array of new technologies, adopted from molecular biology, genetics and cell biology. Progress in these fields has been swift in recent years and - as a result of applying these powerful tools - developmental biologists have been able to answer questions that have eluded scientists for decades.
|This material may be reproduced for educational purposes only provided
credit is given to the original source.|
Leon Browder & Laurie Iten (Ed.) Dynamic Development
Last revised Tuesday, March 3, 1998