the community site for and by developmental biologists

The Tails of Fate

Posted by on January 18th, 2018

The epic journey of embryogenesis begins with a set of maternal instructions. These instructions are in the form of transcribed mRNA, some even translated into proteins and ready for action. However, many of the critical maternal mRNAs are inactive and must be delivered to the right cell and activated at the right time to encode[…]

The MBL Embryology Course: Questions and Answers

Posted by on January 17th, 2018

The Feburary 1st deadline to apply to the Embryology Course at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is quickly approaching. Maybe you’ve only just learned about the Embryology Course, or perhaps you’ve been meaning to apply to it for years but never pulled the trigger. Either way, I’m writing this blog post to (1) convince you[…]

The future of human reproduction: Stepping back from visions of Gattaca

Posted by on January 16th, 2018

The impact of developmental biology on society is particularly acute when it comes to reproduction – research informs efforts to assist reproduction and understand what happens when pregnancy goes wrong. Recent developments in stem cells, culturing conditions, gene editing and sequencing are also revealing aspects of human embryonic development previously hidden from us. Here at[…]

In Development this week (Vol 145, Issue 1)

Posted by on January 16th, 2018

The first Development issue of the year is now complete! Here are the highlights:   RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS:   Micro-lenses focus on cataract development Cataracts have many potential risk factors but the molecular mechanisms underlying their development are unclear. Aggregates of lens epithelial cells (LECs) derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) are a potentially powerful in[…]

The Woods Hole Embryology Experience

Posted by on January 12th, 2018

My first listen to Jimi Hendrix’s album, “Are you experienced?” was as a prepubescent kid who still had a Matchbox car collection. It’s hard to describe. A world of magic opened up for me; to the chagrin of my parents, I decided I wanted to be a musician instead of a scientist, and in a[…]

Shape the leaves

Posted by on January 10th, 2018

Before I started my PhD study, I didn’t notice that leaves have two sides: the adaxial side and the abaxial side. When my supervisor Dr. Yuling Jiao first asked me whether I would like to work on this leaf dorsiventral developmental process, I thought I should try, for my own curiosity.   The leaf dorsiventral[…]

Developmental biology: ‘not a confined, specified discipline’?

Posted by on January 10th, 2018

Catching up after the holidays, I finally got around to reading Scott Gilbert‘s recently published essay in PloS Biology. In case you haven’t seen it yet, the essay proposes that developmental biology is ‘the stem cell of biological disciplines’, and that many other areas of biology – such as cell biology, genetics, immunology, oncology and[…]

The community for regenerative medicine: RegMedNet

Posted by on January 10th, 2018

What happens when you apply developmental biology to patients? Regenerative medicine! Now, here are some more difficult questions: Who owns a cell-based therapy? What is a ‘minimally manipulated’ product, and should they be administered to patients if they haven’t been approved by the FDA? In 2015, RegMedNet, the network for regenerative medicine, was launched to[…]

Synthetic Human Embryology: The Rise of A New Era with New Collaborations

Posted by on January 9th, 2018

— A look behind the paper “A pluripotent stem cell-based model for post-implantation human amniotic sac development“   Early stages of human embryo development are vital for successful pregnancy and the health of the embryo. Abnormal early development often causes infertility as well as various birth defects. Despite its scientific and clinical importance, early development[…]