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Stable and bicistronic expression of two genes in somite- and lateral plate-derived tissues to study chick limb development

Posted by on November 27th, 2015

The electroporation technique is widely used in developmental biology to deliver foreign DNA into cells and study gene function. The chick embryos exhibit a remarkable easy access to perform electroporation and follow in ovo development. Electroporation of limb somites allows the misexpression of genes in limb somite derivatives, like myogenic and endothelial cells, while electroporation[…]

A call for abstracts: BMP Signalling in Cancer conference

Posted by on November 25th, 2015

15—17 March 2016 St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge, UK   The aim of this Biochemical Society focused meeting is to explore the mechanisms of BMP signal transduction and regulation of signalling, and discuss how genetic and epigenetic alterations result in aberrant signalling and how this leads to cancer. The BMP signalling pathway is a key therapeutic[…]

BSDB Gurdon Summer Studentship Report (4)

Posted by on November 20th, 2015

In 2014, the British Society of Developmental Biology (BSDB) has initiated the Gurdon Summer Studentship program with the intention to provide highly motivated students with exceptional qualities and a strong interest in Developmental Biology an opportunity to engage in practical research. Each year, 10 successful applicants spend 8 weeks in the research laboratories of their[…]

Organ Design 101: Discovering the rules for building a pancreas

Posted by on November 19th, 2015

As we develop from wads of cells to fully formed humans, each of our organs goes through intricate processes to achieve the right combination and number of cells arranged in the proper way. Research published in PLoS Biology by Yung Hae Kim and her colleagues looks at the development of our hormone-oozing pancreas, which assists[…]

In Development this week (Vol. 142, Issue 22)

Posted by on November 17th, 2015

Here are the highlights from the current issue of Development:   Nodal: sustaining Shh expression Underlying the developing vertebrate forebrain is the prechordal mesoderm, which secretes sonic hedgehog (Shh) at a precise developmental time. The tight temporal regulation of this morphogen is crucial for the specification of several ventral cell types in the forebrain. However,[…]

Artificial Intelligence tackles variability of metastatic conversion triggered by bioelectric disregulation

Posted by on November 7th, 2015

  One of the most important problems in experimental biology has to do with variability / heterogeneity (Rubin, 1990): why do different organisms react differently to the same perturbation or reagent? This is observed even among clonal populations (e.g., cohorts of planarian flatworms descended from the fission of 1 animal and living in the same[…]

In Development this week (Vol. 142, Issue 21)

Posted by on November 3rd, 2015

Here are the highlights from the current issue of Development:   Spatial mapping in the brain Many sensory systems show topographic mapping: the spatial organisation of peripheral receptors is preserved in the brain regions where the sensory information is relayed. One example of such mapping is found in the mouse somatosensory system, where there is[…]

Does (brain) size matter?

Posted by on October 30th, 2015

Chris Puhl and Rebecca McIntosh   As a part of a team of students from the MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology, Kings College London we commissioned and edited an issue of The Biochemical Society’s magazine, The Biochemist. The issue is entitled ‘What makes us human’ and is a discussion of the evolutionary steps that lead to[…]

Artificial intelligence approaches to planarian regeneration and beyond

Posted by on October 30th, 2015

Pattern formation and regulation emerges from cellular activity determined by specific biophysical and genetic rules. A major challenge for developmental biology, biomedicine, and synthetic bioengineering is this highly indirect (Lobo et al., 2014b) relationship between the rules that govern processes at the lower scales, and the anatomical outcomes observed at the macroscopic scale. It is[…]

On the scaling of the skeletal system

Posted by on October 28th, 2015

By Tomer Stern, the skeletal development laboratory of Prof. Elazar Zelzer, Department of Molecular Genetics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel.   Proper shape-size relation is essential for the function of all organs and organisms. Thus, one of the key challenges shared by developing organs is the adjustment of physical dimensions to the massively growing body,[…]