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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Marc David Servetnick
B BIO 460
Bothell Campus

Developmental Biology

Studies the biology of embryonic development. Covers major features of development of vertebrates and invertebrates. Topics include: morphological features of early development (fertilization, cleavage, gastrulation, establishment of the body plan), cell determination, pattern formation, molecular biology of early embryos, and introduction to evolutionary developmental biology. Prerequisite: B BIO 360. Offered: Sp.

Class description

Developmental Biology is a one quarter course on the principles of animal embryonic development. We will study: the major morphological features of embryonic development how cells acquire specialized roles during development the molecular mechanisms underlying cell differentiation and the establishment of the animal body plan how development reveals an underlying unity among diverse forms of life.

Student learning goals

explain fundamental principles of embryonic development

describe major experimental approaches used in the study of development

begin to interpret evidence in primary scientific literature in developmental biology

communicate the results and conclusions of a research paper in developmental biology

General method of instruction

Classes are lecture- and discussion-based. We will read and discuss 4-5 primary research papers during the quarter; the readings complement the classroom topics.

Recommended preparation

Students must have taken B BIO 200 (Intro to Biology 2: Cell, Molecular and Developmental Biology). B BIO 360 (Intro to Genetics) or equivalent is strongly recommended.

Class assignments and grading

The class provides background on embryonic development, with description of development in several major research organisms. The focus is on molecular mechanisms (gene expression, cell-cell signaling) and learning to read the primary literature in this field.

Grades are based on 1 midterm exam, two mini-exams, class participation, and a final presentation on a research paper in the field. Depending on the size of the class, presentations are done by groups of 2-3 students.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Marc David Servetnick
Date: 01/28/2013