Difference between revisions of "Development"

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Revision as of 10:17, 31 May 2017


This lecture is about how the embryo makes use of cellular mechanisms (described during this term) to construct itself.

It is concerned with concepts rather than detail.

You should appreciate how these cellular mechanisms integrate to produce the whole organism.

CSt1 zygote.gif Human CST23.gif

The image above shows the first cell that forms following fertilization, and that cell's offspring 8 weeks later.

Dear ANAT3231 Students, Due to a teaching timetable clash, this lecture (Development) scheduled for Monday 3pm this week will be partly given during the revision class tomorrow on Tuesday at 12.

Please use Dr Steve Palmer's archived lecture as a general guide. Archive: 2013 PDF


  • Understand the utility of model organisms in research on developmental mechanisms
  • Understand the conceptual importance of somatic cell nuclear transfer (cloning) experiments
  • Understand the concept of how lineage restriction is controlled by the expression of DNA-binding transcription factors
  • Brief understanding of how transcription factor expression can be controlled by signaling pathways
  • Brief understanding of cell movements in development
  • Brief understanding of how apoptosis can create shape


  • Cell proliferation careful control of cell division is needed to ensure that tissues achieve their correct size at the right time and in the right place.
  • Tissue differentiation - specialization of cells and expression of tissue-specific genes e.g. globin gene in blood cells.
  • Patterning - temporal and spatial expression of DNA-binding proteins e.g. the homeobox (Hox) genes.
  • Induction and cell signaling
    • Short range by cell-cell contact e.g. delta/notch
    • Long range by diffusible morphogen e.g. sonic hedgehog
  • Cell migration and shape change – cells (or parts of cells e.g. neurons) need to move through other tissues to reach the right location e.g. germ cells and limb myoblasts.
  • Morphogenesis by selective apoptosis (programmed cell death) – shapes can be created by the formation of temporary structures that are later removed by coordinated apoptosis e.g. formation of digits


  • Cell lineage – a linear sequence of cell fate that traces progressive states of differentiation. Analogous to the "ancestry" of a cell – e.g. liver cells are derived from the endodermal lineage.
  • Embryonic patterning – the underlying mechanism by which a shapeless ball of cells is provided with the information required to develop into its appropriate anatomical form and structure.
  • Cell commitment (specification) – the process by which a cell becomes dedicated to becoming some other more mature cell type due to its position in the embryo or as a result of its cell lineage: reversible if exposed to a different environment e.g. grafted into another location.
  • Cell determination – the process by which a cell becomes irreversibly locked into a particular cell fate: precedes differentiation. However, the cell shows no outward signs of what they are destined to be.
  • Differentiation - the process by which a less specialized cell undergoes a recognizable change (of shape and/or function) into a more specialized cell type: irreversible (under normal circumstances).
  • Morphogenesis – The overall process by which the embryo resolves itself into a mature shape

2017 Course Content


Lectures: Cell Biology Introduction | Cells Eukaryotes and Prokaryotes | Cell Membranes and Compartments | Cell Nucleus | Cell Export - Exocytosis | Cell Import - Endocytosis | Cytoskeleton Introduction | Cytoskeleton - Microfilaments | Cytoskeleton - Microtubules | Cytoskeleton - Intermediate Filaments | Cell Mitochondria | Cell Junctions | Extracellular Matrix 1 | Extracellular Matrix 2 | Cell Cycle | Cell Division | Cell Death 1 | Cell Death 2 | Signal 1 | Signal 2 | Stem Cells 1 | Stem Cells 2 | Development | 2017 Revision

2017 Laboratories: Introduction to Lab | Fixation and Staining |

2017 Projects: Group 1 - Delta | Group 2 - Duct | Group 3 - Beta | Group 4 - Alpha

Dr Mark Hill 2015, UNSW Cell Biology - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G