25 years of Development - by Katherine Brown, Executive Editor
When I arrived at Development in late 2011, I realised that the journal was about to celebrate its 25th birthday. Or perhaps its 59th, depending on how you look at things. The journal that is now Development was founded in 1953 as the Journal of Embryology and Experimental Morphology (JEEM). But in 1987, in a bold move by The Company of Biologists and the journal’s editors, it was rebranded, restyled and relaunched with a succinct one-word title and a mission to publish the best papers in the burgeoning field of developmental biology. That field has blossomed, matured and expanded over the last 25 years, and today’s cutting edge is remarkably far from those early days of molecular genetics.
We have been extremely fortunate to have had three visionary and dedicated Editors in Chief over the years: Chris Wylie, who oversaw the transition from JEEM to Development and remained at the helm until 2002; Jim Smith, who steered the ship from 2003 to 2009; and Olivier Pourquié, who now controls the tiller. And it has not been all smooth sailing over these 25 years, with challenges ranging from remaining a high-quality community journal in the face of stiff competition, through the transition from a paper-based to an online world, to the new scientific directions in which the field is moving. To look back on the trials and triumphs, and to contemplate the future, we have invited all three Editors in Chief to share their memories and thoughts on their time in charge, presented in the following editorials.
We are also celebrating our quarter-century by revisiting some of Development’s classic papers. It’s been very interesting to look back over the articles published in our pages; although the approaches and techniques may have changed drastically, many of the fundamental questions remain the same. Perhaps it’s also comforting to see that, while we have answered many problems, there’s still plenty to discover. Over the coming months, we will be showcasing some of Development’s most influential papers in our Spotlight section, so look out to see whether your favourite paper makes it in! Finally, we hope to be able to celebrate in person with some of you later in the year. Plans are underway for a one-day symposium to be held in Cambridge in the autumn; more details will be announced shortly.
For now, though, we invite you to step back in time and to follow Chris, Jim and Olivier through Development’s birth, youth and coming of age, and to look forward to the next 25 years of what I’m sure you will all agree is still the fascinating and fast-moving field of developmental biology.
In the beginning - by Chris Wylie, Editor in Chief 1987-2002
Cast your mind back to 1987. The year of the Iran-Contra affair, the last Dusky Seaside Sparrow died making the species officially extinct, hurricane-force winds hit the South of England for the first time since 1703, and Margaret Thatcher was elected for a third term as prime minister. On the plus side, however, the Simpsons made their first appearance, Ronald Reagan challenged President Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin wall, the first ever rugby world cup was played in New Zealand and Australia, and, of course, Development was born.
Perhaps ‘born’ is the wrong word. Go to the Development website and you’ll find an archive dating back to 1953. But flick between the editorial board PDFs of the last issue of 1986 and the first issue of 1987 and, as in Dr Who, a metamorphosis has taken place: a new Chief Editor, new Associate Editors, and a much heftier Advisory Board including more Americans, plant biologists and molecular geneticists, all stare out from the front pages.
It was these three elements – Americans, plant biology and molecular genetics – that were the driving force of the metamorphosis. As Publications Officer for the British Society for Developmental Biology (BSDB), it had been my job to identify ideas and organisers (who were also the Volume Editors) for the annual series of BSDB Symposia, to help in the recruitment of speakers, and to shepherd their publication [at that time as a supplement volume to The Journal of Embryology and Experimental Morphology (JEEM) published by The Company of Biologists (CoB)] to a timely conclusion. These symposia were very good, and it quickly became obvious that they contained articles that were often more topical and exciting, and written by a more impressive range of authors, than those in the parent journal. I therefore brought to the BSDB committee the idea of the society starting its own journal. The idea of a society-owned journal wasn’t new. ‘Development’ (for I had already christened it in my mind) would be to the BSDB what Developmental Biology (then the premier journal in the field) was to the Society for Developmental Biology (SDB). The burgeoning data in developmental biology at that time were new, however, and needed a home for their publication.
A brief TV comedy series could be written about the subsequent discussions with publishers, including the CoB. However, the upshot was that I was asked by the CoB if I would like to take over as Editor in Chief of JEEM. My response was that I would not, but that I would consider starting a new journal with a broader outlook, more modern style, and aimed at a more international authorship (and readership). The journal would have to lose its quaint quarto page size and its monochrome cover. Colour would be an everyday component, not just an expensive luxury for labs that could afford it. After some discussion, it was decided by the CoB to ‘relaunch’ JEEM as Development, a journal with all of these characteristics. This decision was made in 1986, which did not leave a lot of time to generate the changes and produce an actual journal at the beginning of 1987. But fortunately, the world’s developmental biologists rallied round by sending in some excellent papers, as did the publishing house under the capable (perhaps ‘heroic’ is a better term) guidance of Tom Galliers and his staff. Richard Hynes and Doug Melton agreed to come on board as US editors, and we later recruited Keith Roberts as ‘plant’ editor. Many others joined the Advisory Board and generously committed their time, as well as some of their best work, to the journal.
One thing that was conspicuously lacking in developmental papers at that time was the intrinsic beauty of developing systems. This was strange because it was precisely what had attracted many of us to become developmental biologists, but also understandable because of the expense of high-resolution colour reproduction. The CoB and its publishing house were very forward looking in agreeing to fund free colour use in the journal (something they had recently instituted at JEEM), as well as showcasing the artistic merits of the research contained in its pages as a series of front covers, posters, calendars and postcards, all distributed freely to the world’s developmental biologists. Thus, postdocs and graduate students, as well as PIs, saw their work showcased for its beauty as well as its scientific merit. I think this helped Development to become part of the developmental biology community, further aided by the provision of low-cost personal subscriptions, enabling most developmental biologists to buy their own copies of the journal, rather than having to go to the library to read it (no internet then, remember!). Another thing that helped was the direct connection between authors and editors. All editorial decisions at Development were (and still are) made by working scientists who were themselves authors, and therefore faced the same hurdles over publication as the authors whose manuscripts they were judging.
Perhaps the most compelling reason for working with the CoB was its non-profit nature. Instead of authors having to pay to publish their papers in premier journals, and then pay again to read them, a depressing fashion at the time that mercifully is being eroded by online open-access publishing, the CoB offered in Development free colour, no page charges, free reprints, subsidised personal subscriptions, grants to young scientists to attend meetings, and grants to meeting organisers. This non-profit attitude (and the fact that Development became popular and its circulation rose rapidly) enabled a rarely seen symbiosis between research and publisher that persists to this day.
It is interesting to look back 25 years to see how each manuscript was handled in Development’s early years. There was no internet, no email, no cell phones and very few computers (we had one, fanatically guarded, desktop computer in the whole department). Manuscripts arrived by mail: four copies of each typescript accompanied by the figures. These were all original prints mounted on cards, which often fell off in transit and had to be reassembled in our office by careful scrutiny of the figure legends. Reviewers were identified by mail or telephone, and review copies mailed out. Reviewers were encouraged to fax or FedEx back their reports, and destroy the review copy (unless the author wanted all the copies back, which led to more complications). Decision letters were then typed up and went out to the authors. Long correspondences would often ensue. These would sometimes become confusingly out of phase, with airmail letters asking about the fate of a manuscript arriving before the manuscript itself, which was still travelling by sea. We tend to assume that telephone communication was routine in the 1980s. However, most universities in the UK actively discouraged long-distance calls in those days, and editors, authors and reviewers alike would often forget about time zone differences, or worse still, get them the wrong way round, when calling each other. Despite this process (chaotic by today’s standards) in which hundreds of kilos of paper passed in and out of the office every month, the average reviewing time, from arrival to decision, was maintained at around 2-4 weeks, with remarkably few mistakes (although I once managed to send an author his own manuscript to review!). By contrast, in today’s Development office, the entire reviewing process takes place without anyone needing to see a piece of paper. Equally dramatic have been the changes in the events between acceptance and publication. Photoreproduction, sub-editing, typesetting, printing and distribution together took three months of frenzied activity in the publishing house before accepted manuscripts appeared in the journal. Now, with ePress ahead of print, or no print at all, they are available to the community almost immediately after acceptance.
What were all these burgeoning new data that required a new journal? There were so many! Characterisation of developmentally important genes identified by mutation in Drosophila genetic screens was in full swing. Their homologues were being identified in vertebrates, and ES cells (discovered in 1981) were beginning to be used to target such genes to identify their functions; the first mouse knockout was published in 1989. Novel techniques of RNA and protein localisation in embryos were de-mystifying the localised ‘plasms’ known to generations of microscopists. cDNA libraries were identifying large numbers of novel genes with different temporal and spatial expression patterns, which could be assayed by northern blotting (and later by RT-PCR) and in situ hybridisation. These seem cumbersome now in an era of whole-exome sequencing of individual organisms and multicolour reporter lines of flies, fish and mice; but they were eye-opening in the 1980s and 1990s. Classical experimental techniques such as single-cell transplantation, organ culture and tissue recombination were being used to elucidate the functions of individual genes in embryonic patterning and growth. New model organisms were being established: witness the famous zebrafish issue of December 1996. And new techniques of cell biology allowed quantitative assays of cell behaviours such as adhesion, locomotion and guidance of morphogenetic movements. Embryonic systems were also being developed as surrogates for other kinds of study: the frog oocyte for analysis of neurotransmitter assembly and function, early embryos of many species for toxicity screens, sequence comparisons in evolutionary biology, electrophysiological assays of membrane channels, and so on. The increasing sophistication of experimental analysis in a number of model organisms, fuelled by continuing discoveries of novel biochemical and cellular techniques, rapidly increased the pace of our understanding of basic developmental mechanisms.
It also rapidly enhanced the applications of developmental mechanisms to related fields. For example, it drew together developmental biology and paediatrics, leading to the identification of the developmental basis of many of the thousands of birth defects (and, incidentally, to the generation of the Development and Disease section that ran in the journal from 2002 to 2009). The number of developmental biologists also increased significantly. The first meeting of the BSDB that I attended attracted some thirty people, of whom three (including myself) were graduate students. Contrast this with the 700 or so who come to today’s symposium meetings. This, in turn, rapidly increased the number of papers, and Development was soon overwhelmed with manuscripts. In an attempt to capture all that was new and significant, the journal grew to alarming proportions, before settling down to an increased level of stringency of its acceptance criteria.
In 2002, when I stepped down as Development’s Editor in Chief, I commented that since its launch in 1987 “the field has seen the unification of many, if not all, model systems, into a framework that links evolution, development and medicine to an extent that only the most optimistic could have imagined in 1987”. The journal captured much of the essence of this extraordinary sixteen-year period. Long may this continue.
Many people helped with the launch of Development, as well as in its remarkable growth. The CoB Board of Directors was highly supportive. The production staff were amazing considering the scale of both the qualitative and quantitative changes with which they were confronted. Many of the world’s leading developmental biologists took time out of busy lives to become editors. These included Walter Gehring, Richard Hynes, Tom Jessell, Andy McMahon, Doug Melton, Keith Roberts, Janet Rossant, Gerry Rubin and Ben Scheres. Many more (too many to mention individually) joined the Editorial Advisory Board and enhanced the journal’s quality through their manuscript reviews. Development was, and remains, a team effort!
Development after Chris Wylie - by Jim Smith, Editor in Chief 2003-2009
I became a member of the Board of The Company of Biologists (CoB) in 1986, just before Chris Wylie renamed, redesigned and relaunched the Journal of Embryology and Experimental Morphology (JEEM) as Development. Despite a slight wobble on my part about the new name, I quickly became a staunch supporter of Chris’s efforts. In retrospect, I’m not sure why I wobbled. Perhaps it was because by this time I had already published some 11 papers in JEEM and I didn’t want them to disappear into obscurity. Perhaps I’m just conservative. But in the end I accepted that one-word titles were the way to go, and I was pleased that the new name did remove the bizarre concept of ‘experimental morphology’, something I had always struggled with. And in the fullness of time the CoB did, of course, make all the old JEEMs freely available online, so my fears, if such they were, were unfounded. Indeed, so confident did I become about the future of Development that, when I was offered the choice of having a paper published in the last issue of JEEM or the first issue of Development, I went for the latter!
Chris served as Editor in Chief of Development for some 16 years. He describes well the anarchy that was scientific publishing in the days before online submission: the manuscripts full of tyops, black-and-white figures mounted on pieces of card and lettered with Letraset or Rotring pen; the phone calls, the missing papers, and the rolls and rolls of fax paper: it looked like such fun. I sometimes regret that I was spared this excitement, but I did work in the background at the CoB to try to keep the subscription price down and to increase Chris’s annual page limit (not that he paid much attention to it anyway!).
In 2000, I became chair of the CoB’s Development Advisory Group, ably assisted by Martin Raff and Daniel St Johnston. It was not long after this that Chris decided to stand down as Editor in Chief, and it fell to us to find a replacement. It happens quite frequently that nomination committees nominate one of their own for the job at hand, and this is exactly what happened. I hope Martin’s and Daniel’s memories agree with mine in that it was their idea that I should stand and that I did, initially, demur. But the truth is that I found the idea very exciting: Development was a terrific journal, developmental biology was in a very exciting phase, and I thought I could make a decent job of it.
So I recruited some new editors, including Ruth Lehmann as Deputy Editor in Chief, and I worked with Mark Patterson, then the CoB’s Publisher, to hire Jane Alfred from Nature Reviews Genetics to become the journal’s Executive Editor. This was probably the smartest thing I did while I was Editor in Chief. Jane and I worked really well together (at least, I think we did): we discussed areas of developmental biology that were important and where we needed new editors, we worked on the front end of the journal, Jane commissioned some wonderful reviews, and we undertook a subtle yet effective redesign. Not long after we started at Development we moved from a string-and-sealing-wax online submission process to a bells-and-whistles version hosted by HighWire and called Bench>Press. We worked quite hard to customise this for the needs of Development, and I think it works pretty well. Certainly, it makes it easy for author, referee or editor to submit, review or adjudicate any time, any place, anywhere. Although, judging from Chris’s recollections, the reviewing times haven’t sped up very much, the process is certainly a lot simpler and less error prone, and the rate-limiting step is not, if it ever was, the means by which the participants in the review process communicate.
What my colleagues and I tried to do as editors was to be editors: to look at papers as they came in, to decide whether they should be sent out to review, to choose the reviewers, and then to make a decision based on the reviewers’ comments. I was keen that as practicing scientists we should come to a view immediately as to whether a paper should be sent for review. There is no point in wasting the time of author and reviewer if the paper stands no chance of being published. Rejecting without review was often unpopular, and we would occasionally relent if an author made a persuasive case, but it was undoubtedly the right thing to do. Similarly, I was keen that we should make a clear decision based on the referees’ comments and not go back and forth from author to reviewer until every one of the reviewers’ points was addressed. To do this would have been intellectually tedious for the editor and highly demoralising for all concerned, and I don’t think it would have improved the papers very much. I also worked hard on instilling a culture of editorial consistency and team spirit among the academic editors, so that each of us had the same idea about what ‘makes’ a Development paper.
Another task that fell to editors and to the production team was to identify instances of plagiarism and figure manipulation, both of which, thanks to Google and Photoshop, have increased in scientific publishing. This did not happen as often as one might have feared, but it did happen and it was always disappointing to experience. Development took a strong line here. We became a member of COPE – the Committee on Publication Ethics – and we did not hesitate to report miscreants to their Head of Department, who we expected to investigate the case carefully.
Most of us would agree that a journal’s impact factor carries too much weight these days, but I was nevertheless keen to increase Development’s, which had soared under Chris to double figures at one point, but then begun to decline. But my reasons for doing this were scientific and not economic. First, I wanted to make sure that the papers we were publishing were really interesting and novel – a side effect of which would be to increase the number of citations they gathered (and hence the numerator in the impact factor calculation). To put it bluntly, there were too many papers being submitted with titles like ‘The role of gene X in the development of organ Y in species Z’ and I was getting rather fed up with these. Rather, I wanted papers that introduced new and multidisciplinary approaches to developmental biology that would take us to a new level of understanding. And second, I wanted to reduce the denominator (the number of papers published). This was not because I was trying to save the CoB money, but because I wanted a journal that was manageable and where people would find virtually every paper to be of interest. And as a side effect the reduced page numbers would save money for the CoB and allow more to be ploughed into supporting science (in the form of meetings and travelling fellowships).
Did we succeed in these aims? Although the impact factor hasn’t really climbed, I do think the journal has benefited. I’m sure there are now fewer papers with the generic X, Y, Z title, and the journal definitely got slimmer while its scope has probably broadened. Could I have done more? Perhaps the most obvious thing is that we could have been faster to claim the area of stem cells, and we could even have trumpeted the arrival of Austin Smith and Ken Zaret as stem cell editors by renaming the journal Development and Stem Cells. But I am conservative where names are concerned (see above) and such a move seemed too naked an attempt to attract certain papers at the expense of others. Olivier Pourquié has now, rightly, introduced a special section for stem cells and recruited more editors with expertise in the field, so we’ll see how it goes.
In his piece, Chris enumerates the advances that were being made in developmental biology while he was Editor in Chief of Development. I don’t think there were quite the same advances during my shorter tenure of seven years – how could there have been? But the period from 2003 to 2009 was more than just a period of consolidation for the journal and for its field. It began to see the emergence of a systems biology of development, the area in which I myself now work. In the future, developmental biology will generate new levels of understanding through the mathematical integration of the physics of cell biology, large-scale analyses of gene expression (proteins as well as RNAs), and high-resolution rapid 4D imaging. This work will realise the potential of developmental biology as an important and fascinating subject in itself, and also as a means to improve the human condition, to allow us to understand the developmental basis of birth defects and by creating more rational approaches to regenerative medicine. Perhaps in the future the journal will be called Pure and Applied Development.
I should end by thanking everyone involved in Development while I was Editor in Chief. These include John Gurdon and the Board of the CoB, the Development Advisory Group under Daniel St Johnston, the terrific production team (and especially Tom Galliers), and my fellow editors and editorial board members. Most of all I thank Jane Alfred for her wisdom, hard work, support and friendship.
Development: looking to the future - by Olivier Pourquié, current Editor in Chief
In early 2009, I was contacted by The Company of Biologists (CoB) about the position of Editor in Chief of Development. I was still working at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in the USA, but had just accepted the position of Director of IGBMC, a well-known French biomedical research institute founded by Pierre Chambon. This would be a heavy responsibility, and while I was excited by the prospect of the new editorial role, it was unclear to me whether it was a good time to add to my already heavy workload. Still, I had always liked the journal and felt I could contribute. I had been an editor at Developmental Biology for almost ten years and it was time for a change. The prospect of becoming Development’s Editor in Chief was attractive as it offered the possibility to influence the strategy of the journal. I also felt that the times were changing fast in developmental biology and that someone had to move forwards with some of the policies that Jim Smith had initiated and with new ones. Because I was myself embarking on new scientific ventures involving more stem cell work and quantitative approaches, I believed I was well placed to help promote these new directions within the journal.
I was particularly concerned by the rise of the stem cell field and had the conviction that Development should get a much larger chunk of this literature. Jim had already made a start in this direction with the recruitment of outstanding stem cells editors such as Austin Smith and Ken Zaret, but in my view the move towards the stem cell field needed to be much more aggressive. In 2009, I was invited to give a talk at the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) meeting in Barcelona and I was very impressed by the large number of attendees, particularly compared with most developmental biology meetings. I did not feel like an alien in this crowd of stem cell researchers and it was quite clear to me that most were really doing developmental biology. In fact, most had been calling themselves developmental biologists until recently. The meeting concluded with a talk from the well-known stem cell biologist Irv Weissman, the then President of the ISSCR. I was struck by the ideas he developed in his talk, and I found the following quote from this lecture particularly disturbing: “We are a field, a discipline, and an entire branch of science that brings new ideas, experiments, concepts and approaches that impinge on every field of biomedical research and medical translation. Like anything new, we are a threat to the established order, and at every kind of educational and research institution, to thrive we must be recognised as entities, not divisions of the old entities.” I am myself doing a lot of stem cell work, and I instead felt that I belonged to the old entity (developmental biology!) and disagreed with the idea that the stem cell field is new; rather, it has only become so fashionable recently. In fact, if you look back through the pages of Development in its early days, you’ll find quite a number of stem cell papers. So I was really bothered by the implications of Irv Weissman’s statement; I wanted to continue to study the embryo while trying to apply some of this knowledge to stem cell differentiation and regenerative medicine. Thus, to me it was very important that stem cell biology remains tightly associated with developmental biology.
On the other hand, I fully concurred with Irv Weissman about the novelty of regenerative medicine as a future major field of medicine. But I also see regenerative medicine as an application of developmental biology. Until recently, the medical applications of our field have been considered to be mostly restricted to the study of rare human malformations. Regenerative medicine, which involves reconstructing tissues from stem cells, will most likely largely rely on knowledge of the development of these tissues. In fact, it is clear that a major bottleneck in this field is to harness the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells into the desired lineage, which in most cases involves recapitulating the development of this lineage in vitro. Thus, following the reprogramming frenzy, which dealt more with cell biology and epigenetics, stem cell research is entering a new phase that is more focused on differentiating cells and rebuilding organs. This new era will undoubtedly require a thorough understanding of the normal development of the various lineages that build the embryo. Therefore, I think it is vital for the success of regenerative medicine that stem cell biology and developmental biology remain tightly associated. This is why I strongly believe that our journal should become an important player in the stem cell field.
In order to increase our visibility in the field, we hired new editors Shin-Ishi Nishikawa, Magdalena Götz and Gordon Keller to cover more aspects of stem cell biology. I also created the new Development and Stem Cells section, which seems to be doing quite well, both in terms of quality and quantity. We have also invested in several initiatives aimed at this burgeoning field, including a more active participation at stem cell meetings and commissioning of timely reviews in the field. Going forwards, we plan to continue this push and are actively looking at ways to do so – we could even, as Jim mentioned, consider another change to the journal’s name.
Another area that I have aimed to promote is quantitative or systems biology. Whether this is truly a new field or simply a different and complementary way to address developmental biology is an open question. With the sophisticated imaging tools and the various ‘-omics’ approaches available today, it is now possible to acquire highly quantitative data on developmental processes. This opens the door to revisiting many old questions using new quantitative analyses. Importantly, this has provided solid data for our physicist colleagues who, now that our problems are more tractable to their approaches, have become keen to address them. There is a natural interest among physicists and mathematicians in trying to understand the principles involved in the generation of shapes from elementary elements, which is what morphogenesis is about. Uncovering the physical principles underlying embryo formation will be a major challenge for this century, and, in the past few years, we have seen more and more outstanding physicists and mathematicians joining our field. This trend is now reflected in various kinds of developmental papers, both as collaborative ventures between biologists and theoreticians as well as purely theoretical papers. I am convinced that quantitative approaches and modelling will become ever more important for our field and that the new developmental biologists will need a more solid background in physics and mathematics than the previous generations. Several of our editors are able to handle such papers and it is becoming easier to find appropriate referees who are able to judge the quality of both the experiments and the theory.
While pushing into these new fields, I have tried not to forget the more traditional areas, including plant biology, which I realised was a major strength of Development. Our plant papers are very highly cited and the journal is highly regarded in this field. We have also expanded our scope in neurosciences and in evo-devo, and have recruited new editors with expertise in these fields. Recently, and recognising our position as a community journal, we have also added a Technical Papers section to publish new techniques and resources of wide interest to developmental biologists.
Other important developments at the journal have come from the revolution caused by the online world. Although we may have been a little late in updating our online image, I hope we are now catching up, and even pushing at the forefront in some ways. Key to this has been the launch of the Node, our community website. From the beginning, I was very supportive of promoting the journal and the field using more modern communication strategies such as those introduced by social networking. Jane Alfred and Claire Moulton, the CoB’s Publisher, had already started to explore the possibility of creating a community-oriented blogging website that would be run by the journal and serve as a forum for all developmental biologists. The Node went live in 2010 and is run by Development’s Online Editor and Community Manager Eva Amsen. It is now becoming very popular and provides the community with a variety of interesting resources and discussions. We are confident that the Node will continue to flourish, and we invite you to take a look – and to contribute! – if you haven’t done so already. We are also actively looking at our online content and seeking ways to improve article and data presentation and accessibility, as well as to reach out to a more tech-savvy readership, and we hope that you will notice the changes going forwards.
Looking back at Chris’s and Jim’s recollections, have we achieved the goals that we set ourselves over the last 25 years? Well, Development certainly encompasses the field of molecular genetics and our venture into plant developmental biology has definitely been a success. We’re also a lot more international, both in terms of our editorial board – which reaches from Berkeley to Sydney, via Toronto, Marseille and Kobe, to mention but a few – and in terms of our author, reviewer and reader pools. Jim’s efforts to create a close-knit team of editors working together to select the best papers have definitely paid off, as has his expansion of the front section – thanks to the work of Jane Alfred and now continued by the new Executive Editor Katherine Brown and Reviews Editor Seema Grewal. Our online presence is ever improving, and although it was sad to see the end of the printing presses at CoB last autumn (the journal is still available in print form), the future is electronic and we’re looking that way. Finally, I hope that my push into the new fields in developmental biology will ensure the continuing success of the journal.
I would like to conclude by thanking the board of the CoB, particularly directors past and present, John Gurdon and Tim Hunt. I am also grateful to the Development Advisory Board and, more specifically, to James Briscoe and Kate Storey for valuable discussions and support. The team of academic editors deserves great credit for their dedication and enthusiasm for the job and I thank our editorial board for their engagement and support. I also thank the Development staff: Administrators Jenny Ostler and Debbie Thorpe; Production Editors Colin Davey, Jane Gunthorpe and Lindsay Roberts; the editorial team of Katherine Brown, Seema Grewal and Eva Amsen; as well as CoB’s production department and Publisher Claire Moulton.