Developmental biology is the study of the process by which organisms grow and develop. Originating in embryology, today developmental biology studies the genetic control of cell growth, differentiation and "morphogenesis," which is the process that gives rise to tissuess, organss and anatomy. The related field of evolutionary developmental biology was formed largely in the 1990s and is a synthesis of findings from molecular developmental biology and evolutionary biology which considers the diversity of organismal form in an evolutionary context.
Often used model organisms for developmental biology are the round worm Caenorhabditis elegans, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, the zebrafish Brachydanio rerio, the African clawed toed frog Xenopus laevis and the weed arabidopsis Arabidopsis thaliana.
The findings of developmental biology can help to understand (or some day, cure) developmental malfunctions such as chromosomal aberration, for example, down syndrome. An understanding of the specialization of stem cells to specific tissues and organs could lead to the specific cloning of organs for medical purposes.
- See also
- allantois, amnion, blastocyst, blastomere, blastula, blastulation, chorion, chrysalis, cleavage, ectoderm, embryo, embryogenesis, embryogeny, embryology, endoderm, evocation, extra-embryonic membrane, fetus (or foetus), gastrula, gastrulation, germ layer, germ plasm, germ, germination, induction, juvenile, larva, mesoderm, metamorphosis, morphogenesis, morula, neoteny, neural development, nymph, ontogeny, oosperm, ovism, paedogenesis, pangenesis, phylogeny, primordium, pupa, rudiment, teratology, zygote