Developmental Biology: From a Cell to an Organism (Genetics & Evolution)

The evolution of developmental mechanisms.
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Developmental Biology DB publishes original research on mechanisms of development , differentiation , and growth in animals and plants at the molecular, cellular, genetic and evolutionary levels. Areas of particular emphasis include transcriptional control mechanisms, embryonic patterning, cell-cell Areas of particular emphasis include transcriptional control mechanisms, embryonic patterning, cell-cell interactions, growth factors and signal transduction, and regulatory hierarchies in developing plants and animals.

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Among other functions, these transcription factors control expression of genes conferring specific adhesive and motility properties on the cells in which they are active. Because of these different morphogenetic properties, the cells of each germ layer move to form sheets such that the ectoderm ends up on the outside, mesoderm in the middle, and endoderm on the inside. Growth in embryos is mostly autonomous. Free-living embryos do not grow in mass as they have no external food supply. But embryos fed by a placenta or extraembryonic yolk supply can grow very fast, and changes to relative growth rate between parts in these organisms help to produce the final overall anatomy.

The whole process needs to be coordinated in time and how this is controlled is not understood.

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There may be a master clock able to communicate with all parts of the embryo that controls the course of events, or timing may depend simply on local causal sequences of events. Developmental processes are very evident during the process of metamorphosis. This occurs in various types of animal. Well-known are the examples of the frog, which usually hatches as a tadpole and metamorphoses to an adult frog, and certain insects which hatch as a larva and then become remodeled to the adult form during a pupal stage.

All the developmental processes listed above occur during metamorphosis. Examples that have been especially well studied include tail loss and other changes in the tadpole of the frog Xenopus , [24] [25] and the biology of the imaginal discs, which generate the adult body parts of the fly Drosophila melanogaster. Plant development is the process by which structures originate and mature as a plant grows.

Online Developmental Biology: Introduction to C. elegans

It is studied in plant anatomy and plant physiology as well as plant morphology. Plants constantly produce new tissues and structures throughout their life from meristems [28] located at the tips of organs, or between mature tissues. Thus, a living plant always has embryonic tissues. By contrast, an animal embryo will very early produce all of the body parts that it will ever have in its life. When the animal is born or hatches from its egg , it has all its body parts and from that point will only grow larger and more mature.

The properties of organization seen in a plant are emergent properties which are more than the sum of the individual parts.

A vascular plant begins from a single celled zygote , formed by fertilisation of an egg cell by a sperm cell. From that point, it begins to divide to form a plant embryo through the process of embryogenesis. As this happens, the resulting cells will organize so that one end becomes the first root, while the other end forms the tip of the shoot. In seed plants, the embryo will develop one or more "seed leaves" cotyledons. By the end of embryogenesis, the young plant will have all the parts necessary to begin in its life.

Once the embryo germinates from its seed or parent plant, it begins to produce additional organs leaves, stems, and roots through the process of organogenesis. New roots grow from root meristems located at the tip of the root, and new stems and leaves grow from shoot meristems located at the tip of the shoot. Growth from any such meristem at the tip of a root or shoot is termed primary growth and results in the lengthening of that root or shoot. Secondary growth results in widening of a root or shoot from divisions of cells in a cambium. In addition to growth by cell division, a plant may grow through cell elongation.

This occurs when individual cells or groups of cells grow longer. Not all plant cells will grow to the same length.


When cells on one side of a stem grow longer and faster than cells on the other side, the stem will bend to the side of the slower growing cells as a result. This directional growth can occur via a plant's response to a particular stimulus, such as light phototropism , gravity gravitropism , water, hydrotropism , and physical contact thigmotropism.

Plant growth and development are mediated by specific plant hormones and plant growth regulators PGRs Ross et al.

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the developmental actions of genes involved with growth and cell specification are seen as being critical for the . for evolutionary biology, and by , Dobzhansky could. clearly during developmental stages of these organisms, and. Genetics, cell biology, oncology, immunology, evolutionary mechanisms, of development, Chambers [17] argued that animal biodiversity was.

Plants exhibit natural variation in their form and structure. While all organisms vary from individual to individual, plants exhibit an additional type of variation. Within a single individual, parts are repeated which may differ in form and structure from other similar parts. This variation is most easily seen in the leaves of a plant, though other organs such as stems and flowers may show similar variation. There are three primary causes of this variation: positional effects, environmental effects, and juvenility. Transcription factors and transcriptional regulatory networks play key roles in plant morphogenesis and their evolution.

During plant landing, many novel transcription factor families emerged and are preferentially wired into the networks of multicellular development, reproduction, and organ development, contributing to more complex morphogenesis of land plants. Much of developmental biology research in recent decades has focused on the use of a small number of model organisms. It has turned out that there is much conservation of developmental mechanisms across the animal kingdom.

In early development different vertebrate species all use essentially the same inductive signals and the same genes encoding regional identity. Even invertebrates use a similar repertoire of signals and genes although the body parts formed are significantly different. Model organisms each have some particular experimental advantages which have enabled them to become popular among researchers. In one sense they are "models" for the whole animal kingdom, and in another sense they are "models" for human development, which is difficult to study directly for both ethical and practical reasons.

Model organisms have been most useful for elucidating the broad nature of developmental mechanisms. The more detail is sought, the more they differ from each other and from humans. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security.

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Biological development. Info Print Print. Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Introduction The scope of development Types of development Quantitative and qualitative development Progressive and regressive development Single-phase and multiphase development Structural and functional development Normal and abnormal development General systems of development Development of single-celled organisms Open and closed systems of development Blastogenesis versus embryogenesis Constituent processes of development Growth Morphogenesis Morphogenesis by differential growth Morphogenetic fields Morphogenesis by the self-assembly of units Differentiation Control and integration of development Phenomenological aspects Analytical aspects Development and evolution Effect on life histories Length and timing of the reproductive phase Recapitulation of ancestral stages Adaptability and the canalization of development Genetic assimilation.

Biological development Written By: Conrad H.