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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biological Sciences : Biology

Undergraduate Course: Developmental Biology 3 (BILG09010)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Biological Sciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course studies development of the complex organism from the fertilised egg, leading from the control of gene expression, to cell interaction, to the formation of tissues and organs. It considers the development of many types of animal and plant embryos and also post-embryonic process (control of growth, tissue maintenance, flowering, etc). Major sections of the course include pattern formation (cell lineage, cell interaction); control of gene expression; genetic analysis of the nematode and in Drosophila (the oocyte, the embryo and imaginal discs); mammalian development; plant development. The course consists of lectures, laboratory practicals, small-group seminars and data-analysis sessions.
Course description The study of development is central to modern biology. It is rapidly revealing how multi-cellular organisms form the correct cells, tissues and organs in the right place at the right time, to generate the complex organism from the fertilized egg. Combining manipulative, genetic and molecular approaches, Developmental Biology now allows us to understand the path from genes to organism. Analysis in different species has shown that a surprisingly similar ┐toolkit┐ of mechanisms is used in the development of vertebrates and invertebrates ┐ and of plants (albeit sometimes mediated by different genes). Understanding its development is not only crucial to appreciating how the whole organism functions and also what happens when things go wrong, as in congenital abnormalities or cancer. Developmental biology provides the basis for understanding stem cells and how they function.

The Dev. Biol. 3 course aims to give a broad view of the processes and mechanisms of development in a range of important research organisms. The topics covered include pattern formation (cell interaction and cell lineage); morphogenesis (cell adhesion and movement); developmental regulation of gene expression; stem cells; the genetic analysis of embryonic and imaginal disc development in Drosophila; the development of mammalian early embryos; and the development of plant embryos and organs. There will be a mixture of lectures, data analysis discussions and workshops. The laboratory practicals will use various experimental approaches and will involve plant, insect and vertebrate material. In-course work (practical assessment and a course essay) contributes 45% of course assessment.

The course will interest all biologists wishing to understand the relationship between genes and organisms. It leads directly to 4th year Development, Regeneration & Stem Cells Honours which covers important additional topics such as stem cell biology, Biology of regeneration and the evolution of development (what is shared and what is unique to different organisms - from humans to plants). It is also a useful course for other Honours programmes (Biochemistry, Medical Biology, Reproductive Biology and Zoology).

Developmental Biology is truly interdisciplinary, including material and staff from Biological and Biomedical Sciences - it is a broad and exciting topic and research career prospects are good.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Cells to Organisms 2 (BIME08011) AND The Dynamic Cell 2 (BILG08009) AND Genes and Gene Action 2 (BILG08003)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesEquivalent of the courses listed above
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2016/17, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 26, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 9, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 20, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 3, Revision Session Hours 3, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 134 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 55 %, Coursework 20 %, Practical Exam 25 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Normally two items on in-course assessment plus one 2.5 hour exam.
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:30
Resit Exam Diet (August)2:30
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. To provide an introduction to the processes of development and the mechanisms by which they are achieved. The course will integrate, wherever possible, results from different experimental systems (vertebrate and invertebrate animals, plants) and from different experimental approaches (embryology, developmental genetics, cell and molecular biology).
  2. To develop the skill of observing developing organisms and recording by notes and drawings; to introduce some of the surgical and cellular experimental techniques of developmental biology.
  3. To give training in analysing primary research papers, and in assessing experimental evidence and its interpretation.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Val Wilson
Tel: (0131 6)50 6424
Course secretaryMr Samuel Bishop
Tel: (0131 6)51 3404
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