Developmental Biology: A Very Short Introduction

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OUP Oxford, Aug 25, 2011 - Science - 132 pages
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From a single cell - a fertilized egg - comes an elephant, a fly, or a human. How does this astonishing feat happen? How does the egg 'know' what to become? How does it divide into the different cells, the separate tissues, the brain, the fingernail - every tiniest detail of the growing foetus? These are the questions that the field of developmental biology seeks to answer. It is an area that is closely linked to genetics, evolution, and molecular biology. The processes are deeply rooted in evolutionary history; the information is held in genes whose vital timings in switching on and off is orchestrated by a host of proteins expressed by other genes. Timing is of the essence. Here, the distinguished developmental biologist Lewis Wolpert gives a concise account of what we now know about development, discussing the first vital steps of growth, the patterning created by Hox genes and the development of form, embryonic stem cells, the timing of gene expression and its management, chemical signalling, and growth. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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About the author (2011)

Lewis Wolpert is Emeritus Professor of Biology as Applied to Medicine in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at University College, London. His research interests are in the mechanisms involved in the development of the embryo. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1980 and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1999. His books include The Triumph of the Embryo (OUP, 1991), Malignant Sadness - The Anatomy of Depression(Faber, 1999), Principles of Development, of which he is principal author, (4th edition, OUP 2011), and How We live, and Why We Die - the secret life of cells (Faber, 2009). He is also co-chief editor of the Journal of Theoretical Biology.

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