the community site for and by developmental biologists

Apply for a grant to study knockout mice

Posted by on May 23rd, 2016

The MRC has now launched its first, cross-Board Call for Pump Priming Awards for preliminary research using IMPC knockout mice ( The aim of this initiative is to capitalise on MRC’s (and others’) investments in the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC) ( and make best use of the resources, data and tools available. The expectation[…]

Reflecting on the student & postdoc events at the BSCB/BSDB Spring Meeting

Posted by on May 23rd, 2016

Last year, the BSDB carried out a student and postdoc survey (see here), and the results clearly highlighted the need for more dedicated program items for young researchers on BSDB conferences. In response, the BSDB student rep Alex Ashcroft, the BSCB postdoc rep Alexis Barr, and the BSDB postdoc rep  Michelle Ware took initiative and[…]

A mouse embryo atlas using HREM data

Posted by on May 23rd, 2016

For the first time, a reference mouse embryo atlas has been created using HREM image data. For other embryo imaging methods such as micro-CT, a reference embryo atlas has previously been shown to be the basis of automated phenotyping (Wong et al, 2014). This new work (a collaboration between the DMDD programme and the Mouse[…]

Madrid Adventure to Study Autophagy in Melanoma Stem Cells

Posted by on May 20th, 2016

I am hugely grateful to the Journal of Cell Science and the Company of Biologists for awarding me a traveling fellowship to visit the laboratory of Dr Guillermo Velasco at Complutense University in Madrid, Spain. During this visit I gained a greater understating of the skills and techniques used to manipulate autophagy regulatory pathways within[…]

Visualizing our ‘gut instinct’

Posted by on May 19th, 2016

How on earth do we turn into a living, breathing, singing, speaking being, from just the fusion of two cells? Development is fascinating and mysterious. Stem cells are one component of how this intricate process unfolds, allowing the embryo to not have every type of cell from the start. Imagine if the only way our[…]

In Development this week (Vol. 143, Issue 10)

Posted by on May 17th, 2016

Here are the highlights from the current issue of Development:   How the zebrafish got its tail Posterior axis elongation is a crucial process during metazoan development. In principle, axial extension can be driven either by tissue growth or by tissue rearrangement – or by a combination of the two. In vertebrates, studies based primarily[…]

Recovering from an earthquake: update from IMEG

Posted by on May 13th, 2016

I recently learned that the recent earthquakes in Kumamoto, Japan, severely affected the Institute of Molecular Embryology and Genetics (IMEG) – home to a large community of developmental biologists. Fortunately, none of the institute’s staff were seriously injured, but there was significant damage to the building and the research infrastructure and it will take a[…]

Desiccated embryos at the piano

Posted by on May 12th, 2016

A few weeks ago, as I listened to Classic FM while trying to finish some of my projects on the Node, I came across a piano composition by Erik Satie called ’embryons desséchés’, the dessicated embryos. At the time I was too busy but now that I have a bit more time I tried to[…]

Forgotten classics- Genetic mosaics in Drosophila

Posted by on May 11th, 2016

Bryant, P.J., Schneiderman, H. A. (1969). Cell lineage, growth, and determination in the imaginal leg discs of Drosophila melanogaster. Developmental Biology 20, 263–290   Recommended by Peter Lawrence (University of Cambridge)     The first article in this series was the 1940 paper that first identified the number of cell layers in the shoot meristem.[…]