BIOL 303 (Winter)

Developmental Biology

A. Gerhold (Coordinator)
(514) 398-6423
D. Dufort
(514) 934-1934 ext. 34743
Y. Rao
(514) 934-1934 ext. 42520
3 credits (3-0-6)
BIOL 200, BIOL 201 or ANAT 212 / BIOC 212; or BIOL 219; BIOL 300 strongly recommended.
Not open to students who have taken ANAT 381

This introductory course in developmental biology is designed to acquaint the student with the fundamental processes operating during embryonic development and cellular differentiation, with a focus on animal development. Development will be considered at the organismal, cellular, and molecular levels to provide a total appreciation of developmental phenomena. The emphasis will be on the interpretation of important experiments that have led to an understanding of the basic principles of development.

1) Introduction, history, principles of experimental embryology (2 lectures)
2) The germ line, gametogenesis, and fertilization (2 lectures)
3) Early invertebrate development (3 lectures)
4) Principles of cellular differentiation and morphogenesis (3 lectures)
5) Reading a research paper and writing a scientific review (1 lecture)
6) Axis specification in vertebrates (4 lectures)
7) Sex determination (1 lecture)
8) Development of the nervous system (2 lectures)
9) Organogenesis and limb development (3 lectures)
10) Growth, metamorphosis, regeneration, and aging (2 lecture)
11) Plant development (2 lectures)
12) Evolution and development (1 lecture)

Recommended text: Principles of Development, 5th ed. by Lewis Wolpert, Cheryll Tickle, Alfonso Martinez Arias, Oxford University Press. 2015. (Note: subject to change; do not purchase before receiving course handout.)
There are 2 90-minute lectures and optional tutorials every week.

Students evaluation is based on two examinations and a term paper. Examinations will stress the ability to design and interpret simple experiments on developing organisms. The term paper will be a summary and critique of a research article from a relevant scientific journal.

McGill University values academic integrity. Therefore all students must understand the meaning and consequences of cheating, plagiarism and other academic offences under the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures (see for more information).

Last update: March 20, 2019