McDermott Lab

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SC/BIOL 4061,SC/BCHM 4061 Molecular and Cellular Principles of Animal Development Winter term, OUTLINE

Course Director: John C. McDermott PhD

Office : 427b  Life Sciences Building

Office tel extension: 30344

Email address:

Web site:


Topic outline

1)                  Introduction to Molecular Analysis of Development -Descriptive embryology -Genetics and molecular biology

2)                  Programs and Regulatory Elements in DNA

3)                  Transcriptional Circuits- epigenetic regulation of gene expression- differential gene expression

4)                  Gastrulation and early development- axis specification and formation

5)                  Features of Major Model Organisms- Mouse, Chick, Drosophila

6)                  Techniques for the study of Mouse Development: gene targeting/editing technology

7)                  Receptors, Ligands

8)                  Cell-cell communication, Signaling Networks, Induction and Competence

9)                  Molecular Co-ordination of Cell Division and Differentiation      (Myogenesis)

10)              Focus on Paraxial Mesoderm, Somitogenesis and Patterning

11)              Cell  Death in Development

12)              Lineage Generation – Embryonic and Adult Stem cell properties and lineage commitment

13)              Cell Type Specification, Induction of pluripotency in stem cells (iPS) and cell fate programming

14)              Patterning in 1 and 2 Dimensions

15)              Molecular and cellular basis of 3D Patterning- Heart development

16)              Postembryonic development:  Regeneration and Aging

17)             Developmental mechanisms of evolutionary conservation and change




1 Test (prior to Reading week -date: Tues 11th Feb)                                   30%

(Policy for missed midterm- mark is allocated to Final Exam)

1 Test (Final in exam period date tba)                                                         40%

 Remaining evaluation to be determined                                                    30%

Required Course Text: (13 th edition available in York bookstore)

Developmental Biology

Companion web site:

Scott F.Gilbert and Michael J.F. Barresi