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8th 2006

Table of Contents

(Numbered chapter titles followed by some of the new material included in these chapters since the last edition)

I. Principles of Developmental Biology

1. Developmental biology: The anatomical tradition

  • New techniques of mathematical modeling of development

2. Life cycles and the evolution of developmental patterns

  • Recent advances in planarian regeneration

3. Principles of experimental embryology

4. The genetic core of development

5. The paradigm of differential gene expression

  • Histone modifications
  • MicroRNAs
  • Pioneer transcription factors
  • Mammalian cloning and methylation patterns

6. Cell–cell communication in development

  • Stem cell specification and stem cell niches
  • Morphogenetic regulation by cadherins
  • Noncanonical Wnt pathways
  • Dependence receptors and apoptosis
  • Community effect and autocrine factors

II. Early Embryonic Development

7. Fertilization: Beginning a new organism

  • Cortical granule components
  • New mammalian sperm–egg binding model
  • Mammalian sperm chemotaxis and thermotaxis
  • Mechanisms of sea urchin sperm chemotaxis
  • Sea urchin bindin receptor
  • Oocyte translation inhibitors and their removal
  • New hypotheses of sperm activation
  • Mammalian sperm–egg fusion

8. Early development in selected invertebrates

  • Wnt and Nodal in sea urchin axis specification
  • Coiling genetics of snail embryos
  • Functions of tunicate yellow crescent
  • Roles of FGFs in tunicate development
  • Tunicate heart development

9. The genetics of axis specification in Drosophila

  • FGF signals and Drosophila mesoderm formation
  • Transport of Nanos and Bicoid messages to opposite ends of the fly oocyte
  • New model for gap protein stabilization

10. Early development and axis formation in amphibians

  • New models for organizer formation in Xenopus
  • New model for mesoderm specification in Xenopus

11. The early development of vertebrates: Fish, birds, and mammals

  • Maternal effect mutations in zebrafish
  • Neurulation in zebrafish
  • Retinoic acid in anterior–posterior axis specification in chordates
  • Ciliary movements and left–right axis specification in vertebrates
  • Role of Cerberus in chick head formation
  • Mesoderm specification and migration in chick gastrulae
  • FGF and cell fate in chick and mammalian epiblasts
  • Induction of pluripotency in mammalian inner cell mass blastomeres
  • Homeotic transformation in mammals due to total Hox paralog knockouts
  • Controversy over blastocyst polarity in mammals
  • Folate receptors and teratogens affecting neurulation

III. Later Embryonic Development

12. The emergence of the ectoderm: Central nervous system and epidermis

  • Genes specifying neural fate
  • Human-specific genes specifying brain growth
  • Progressive myelination of the human brain
  • Neural stem cells
  • Eye development and blind cave salamanders
  • Skin, hair, and pigment stem cells

13. Neural crest cells and axonal specificity

  • Neural crest cell specification and migrations
  • Head vs. trunk neural crest specification
  • Neural crest-endoderm interactions forming facial structures
  • Placode specification and separation
  • Tooth development and evolution
  • Semaphorins, Robo, and ephrins in neural patterning

14. Paraxial and intermediate mesoderm

  • Specification of paraxial and intermediate mesoderm
  • Epithelialization of somites
  • The syndetome—where tendons arise
  • FGFs, Notch, and Wnt in somite specification and separation
  • The primaxial and abaxial musculature
  • New sources of muscle precursor cells
  • Pathways of skeleton formation
  • Regulating ureteric bud branching
  • Wnt and FGF proteins regulating nephron formation

15. Lateral plate mesoderm and endoderm

  • Cloaca formation
  • Heart cell specification
  • Tbx genes, retinoic acid and heart chamber formation
  • Heart valve development
  • Hematopoietic stem cells and their derivatives
  • Lymphatic development
  • Induction of arteries by neurons
  • Placenta as source of blood stem cells
  • Adult blood stem cell niches
  • Endoderm specificity
  • Pancreas vs. liver development
  • Fate mapping pancreatic cells

16. Development of the tetrapod limb

  • Hox code of limb development
  • Specification of the digits by hedgehog proteins and HoxD genes
  • Controversy over digit identities in dinosaurs and birds
  • Getting limbs from fins

17. Sex determination

  • Timing and gene expression in mammalian sex determination
  • Brain sex determination pathways in vertebrates and flies
  • Hormone disruptors and sex determination problems
  • Dosage compensation and sex determination
  • Temperature-dependent sex determination in turtles

18. Metamorphosis, regeneration, and aging

  • Molecular mechanisms of amphibian metamorphosis
  • Ecdysone receptors and the response to molting hormone
  • Compartment formation in the wing imaginal disc
  • Why can’t we regenerate our limbs?
  • Neuron- and mesenchyme-dependent stages of limb regeneration
  • Specification of limb regions by transcription factors during regeneration
  • Mitochondrial control of aging
  • Insulin pathway control of aging and possible relation to oxygen radicals
  • “Ageless” animals and environmental control of aging

19. The saga of the germ line

  • Genetic specification of germ-line cells in Drosophila and vertebrates
  • Components of the Drosophila germ plasm
  • Egg and sperm stem cell niches in Drosophila
  • Migration of primordial germ cells in mammals, chicks, and flies
  • Determination of meiosis and mitosis in C. elegans
  • Retaining mammalian spermatic stem cells

IV. Ramifications of Developmental Biology

20. An overview of plant development

  • Gamete formation and pollen tube guidance
  • Maternal effects and embryo development
  • Radial and axial patterning
  • New model for auxin specification of polarity
  • Roles of microRNAs in plant development
  • Dorsal–ventral leaf patterning
  • Long-distance RNA transport and flowering
  • Floral meristem specification

21. Medical implications of developmental biology

  • Mechanisms of alcohol teratogenesis
  • Effects of endocrine disruptors on human development
  • Nutritional effects of gene methylation and disease susceptibility
  • Cancer as a disease of development
  • Cancer stem cell hypothesis
  • Developmental approaches to cancer therapy
  • Stem cell therapeutics
  • Regenerating human limbs and neurons

22. Environmental regulation of animal development

  • Molecular bases for environmental regulation of gene expression
  • Importance of symbionts in mammalian gut and immune system development
  • Signaling from fetal mammalian lung to initiate labor
  • The role of nutrition in the development of the dung beetle
  • Predator-induced polyphenism and toxicity testing
  • Genetic assimilation of environmentally induced traits

23. Developmental mechanisms of evolutionary change

  • Developmental modularity and evolution (stickleback studies)
  • Evolution by heterochrony, heterotopy, heterometry, heterotypy
  • BMPs and Darwin’s finches
  • Origin of neural crest cells and the origin of jaws
  • The search for the Urbilaterian ancestor


A companion to Developmental Biology, Eight Edition,

By Scott F. Gilbert.  

Select a chapter:    

Contents for all chapters 

1. Developmental Biology: The Anatomical Tradition 

2. Life Cycles and the Evolution of Developmental Patterns 

3. Principles of Experimental Embryology 

4. The Genetic Core of Development 

5. The Paradigm of Differential Gene Expression 

6. Cell-Cell Communication in Development 

7. Fertilization: Beginning a New Organism 

8. Early Development in Selected Invertebrates 

9. The Genetics of Axis Specification in Drosophila 

10. Early Development and Axis Formation in Amphibians 

11. The Early Development of Vertebrates: Fish, Birds and Mammals 

12. The Emergence of the Ectoderm: Central Nervous System and Epidermis 

13. Neural Crest Cells and Axonal Specificity 

14. Paraxial and Intermediate Mesoderm 

15. Lateral Plate Mesoderm and Endoderm 

16. Development of the Tetrapod Limb 

17. Sex Determination 

18. Postembryonic Development: Metamorphosis, Regeneration, and Aging 

19. The Saga of the Germ Line 

20. An Overview of Plant Development 

21. Medical Implications of Developmental Biology 

22. Environmental Regulation of Animal Development 

23. Developmental Mechanisms of Evolutionary Change   

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