Developmental Biology: A Very Short Introduction
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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adult amphibian animals antero-posterior axis apical axon blastema blastula blood cells body bone cancer cartilage cell death cell differentiation cell division cell types chick embryo chromosome cleavage control regions developmental biology differentiated cell digits distal divide dorsal early embryo ectoderm embryo embryonic development endoderm epiblast epidermal evolution example female fertilized egg filopodia formation frog function gastrulation gene expression genetic germ cells give rise gradient grafted growth Hox genes humans Hydra identity imaginal discs inner cell mass interactions involved larva layer limb bud males mammalian mammals mechanism meristem mesoderm migrate molecules mouse muscle cells mutations nematode nerve nervous system neural plate neural tube neurons normal notochord nucleus occurs organism parasegments plant polarizing region positional values posterior primitive streak proliferation proteins proximo-distal regeneration signals small number somites specified spinal cord stage stem cells structures surface tectum tissue transcription factors undergo ventral vertebrate X chromosome