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From SNPs to starlings: Avian Model Systems 2014, 5th-8th March

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Learning to Inject Platynereis Embryos

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Studying genealogy in cell clones

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A day in the life of a C. elegans lab

Flippase recognition target: orientation matters, so why care?

Posted by on April 16th, 2014

FRT sites are used often (at least in Drosophila) for inducing deletions or “flipping out” of markers in transgenic constructs. When there are two FRTs sequences in tandem, after inducing flippase the DNA sequence that is between these two sites will be deleted. If two FRT sites are facing each other (or looking away), the […]
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What’s your favourite gene?

Posted by on April 11th, 2014

I recently took part in the ‘I’m a scientist, get me out of here!’ outreach event. As soon as the school children found out I was a developmental geneticist and worked out what I did, one question I was repeatedly asked was: “what’s your favourite gene and why?” so for a bit of fun, I […]
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Mapping the Embryo for Developmental Biologists & Stem Cell Researchers; LifeMap Discovery® – a Roadmap of Mammalian Cell Ontology

Posted by on March 30th, 2014

Understanding how cells differentiate during embryonic development is invaluable for the in vitro derivation of functional cells from stem cells. However, mapping the human embryo, including characterization of all the cell types that make up the developing and mature human body, and of all embryonic progenitor cell types that appear in intermediate developmental stages, is […]
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Negative findings: tackling the negativity

Posted by on March 18th, 2014

‘Science is often romanticised as a flawless system of knowledge building, where scientists work together to systematically find answers. In reality, this is not always the case. Dissemination of results are straightforward when the findings are positive, but what happens when you obtain results that support the null hypothesis, or do not fit with the […]
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Cellularization in Drosophila, University of Chicago Journal Club

Posted by on March 15th, 2014

Cellularization in Drosophila embryos is quite the remarkable process. After fertilization, nuclear division occurs rapidly but without cell membrane formation, leading to a syncytial embryo with many nuclei in a common cytoplasm. After 9 mitotic divisions, the nuclei begin migration to the periphery of the syncytium, such that nuclei line the plasma membrane of the […]

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In time of revision: of Wingless and morphogens

Posted by on December 27th, 2013

In time of revision: of Wingless and morphogens Alfonso Martinez Arias The recent publication of the important work of C. Alexandre, LA. Baena and JP. Vincent on the molecular requirements for Wingless signalling in Drosophila (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature12879.html) offers an opportunity to consider the relationship between ideas and facts in modern developmental biology. The work reports the […]
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Category Discussion, Journal Club | 11 Comments »

Setting the record straight- an interview with Daniel St Johnston

Posted by on December 3rd, 2013

Professor Daniel St Johnston is a prominent developmental biologist and the current director of the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge (UK). The St Johnston lab recently retracted two papers, in what Retraction Watch lauded as a poster case of ‘doing the right thing’. The Node interviewed Daniel and discussed the case, and how his experience highlighted […]
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Conflicts of Interest

Posted by on October 28th, 2013

‘‘None of the scientists would comment on the record, for fear that it would affect their funding or that of their postdocs and graduate students’’ Nature, September 2012 ‘Is science wrong?’ The Economist, frontcover October 2013   A Disclaimer I have been very fortunate to come across senior scientists in my career who do not […]
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Category Careers, Discussion, Funding | 8 Comments »

Evolution of the Human Neocortex: How Unique Are We?

Posted by on October 28th, 2013

“Evolution of the Human Neocortex: How Unique Are We?” was the question asked at the Wiston House in West Sussex from 22-25 September 2013.  Although we were hardly the first to consider whether the human brain is something special, the ‘unique’ pileup of methodological approaches likely improved the dialogue on this topic. My own presentation sought […]
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Neocortex evolution and human uniqueness

Posted by on October 20th, 2013

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the […]
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