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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[…]

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.[…]

Forgotten classics- Regulating the size of the mouse embryo

Posted by on April 6th, 2016

  Snow, M. H. L., Tam, P. P. L. (1979) Is compensatory growth a complicating factor in mouse teratology? Nature 279, 555-557 Lewis, N. E., Rossant, J. (1982) Mechanism of size regulation in mouse embryo aggregates J. Embryol. exp. Morph 72, 169-181 Recommended by James Briscoe (Francis Crick Institute)     As our previous forgotten[…]

Forgotten classics- Principles of morphogenesis

Posted by on March 10th, 2016

  Gustafson, T., Wolpert, L. (1967) Cellular movement and contact in sea urchin morphogenesis. Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 42, 442-498. Recommended by Thomas Lecuit (IBDM- Developmental Biology Institute of Marseille)   In the beginning of his famous 1969 paper on positional information, Lewis Wolpert states that “the central problem of the development[…]

Forgotten classics- T. H. Morgan and planarian regeneration

Posted by on February 16th, 2016

  Morgan, T.H. (1898) Experimental studies of the regeneration of Planaria maculata. Archiv für Entwicklungsmechanik der Organismen 7, 364-397 Recommended by Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado (Stowers Institute)   Some classic papers are only cited a few times, and the work therein has been largely forgotten. But that does not mean these works are not worth revisiting.[…]

Drawing Embryos, Seeing Development

Posted by on January 25th, 2016

  Today, when we want to capture an image given by the microscope we can either snap a photograph of it or obtain a computer-generated image. But prior to when photographic methods began making their way into biology labs and journals, this meant you had to draw it. For embryologists, this meant creating accurate, detailed[…]

Forgotten classics- Cell layers in the shoot meristem

Posted by on January 12th, 2016

  Satina, S., Blakeslee, A.F., and Avery, A.G. (1940) Demonstration of the Three Germ Layers in the Shoot Apex of Datura by Means of Induced Polyploidy in Periclinal Chimeras. American Journal of Botany 27, 895-905 Recommended by Jane Langdale (University of Oxford)   If you read about plant development in textbooks you will be told[…]

Forgotten classics of developmental biology- a new Node series

Posted by on January 12th, 2016

You just started your research career, or maybe you just moved fields. The first thing on your to-do list is to catch up with the literature. What has been the latest progress? What are the open questions in the field? Ideally, you would go all the way back to the beginnings of the field and[…]

A new look at the (microscopic) world- 350 years since Hooke’s landmark book

Posted by on November 9th, 2015

  ‘These pores, or cells, were not very deep, but consisted of a great many little Boxes … [they] were indeed the first microscopical pores I ever saw, and perhaps, that were ever seen’   Last month I was fortunate enough to attend the conference ‘Cell: from Robert Hooke to Cell Therapy- a 350 year[…]

The human sex ratio at conception and the conception of scientific “facts”

Posted by on June 9th, 2015

Few things interest many people more than sex. For some, this means interest in practices and partners. For others, it means producing a son. There is an ocean of claims about how to do this. A quick Google search reveals claims that a woman can up the odds of a son by taking cough syrup,[…]