Module Identifier BS22320  
Academic Year 2006/2007  
Co-ordinator Dr Iolo Ap Gwynn  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Dr Rodney J Turner, Dr Richard B Kemp  
Pre-Requisite BS12610  
Course delivery Lecture   30 x 1h lectures  
  Practical   6 x 3 hours  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam3 Hours One 3-hour theory paper  70%
Semester Assessment Practical Exercise: Continuous assessment of practicals  30%
Supplementary Assessment3 Hours One 3-hour theory paper (plus resubmission of failed coursework or an alternative)   

Learning outcomes

On completion of the module the student should be able to explain the significance of


To achieve on understanding of the essential aspects of animal development from gamete formation to maturity, reproduction, ageing and cancer in the context of cellular physiology.


The module provides the basic framework for understanding animal development, reproduction and ageing in the context of modern cell biology and evolution.

The introduction to cell biology given in Module BS12610 will be built upon to present a greater understanding of the relationship between cellular behaviour and reproduction, development, ageing and cancer. The following topics will be studied:
1. A broad discussion of the eukaryotic cell-cycle and its control mechanisms, including triggers for apoptosis or differentiation will serve as an introduction to the module. The nature of stem cells and control of their division will also be discussed.
2. Gametogenesis, leading to fertilization mechanisms.
3. The significance of cell adhesion and motility, in response to growth factors and the extracellular matrix will be discussed in relation to cellular movements within the embryo. Experimental examples will be discussed where in vitro experiments of cultured cells have revealed much about how cells respond to their immediate environment. The neural crest movements, characteristic of the vertebrate developmental pattern, will be described and discussed in terms of cellular behaviour.
4. 'Classical' embryological development will be examined, including patterns of cleavage and gastrulation as well as the ooplasmic segregation in mosaic eggs of annelids and echinoderms. Vertebrate gastrulation and neurulation will be described using examples of amphibian and avian embryos.
5. Developmental mechanisms such as induction (tissue communication) will be discussed. Interaction between ectoderm and mesoderm in chick limb development will be taken as an example, as will the development of the eye. Theories of how the pattern of development is controlled will be introduced, with particular analysis of the role of homeobox genes in chick limb development.
6. Genetic aspects of the developmental process will be examined. The hierarchy of homeobox gene action in the development of Drosphila will be compared with their expression patterns in the development of the head and main body axis of vertebrates.
7. The process of ageing will be examined, and related to aspects of cellular behaviour in the body. How the body deals with the agents that accelerate the ageing process as well as agents and conditions that cause oncogenesis will be discussed with reference to its evolutionary significance.

Practical classes will deal with observation of cell adhesion in sponges, cell division and cleavage in a serpulid or nematode egg, methods of staining a developing chick embryo, amphibian development patterns and a comparison of normal and cancer cells. These will include the viewing of suitable video material, where appropriate.

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Alberts, B., Bray, D., Lewis, J., Ruff, M., Roberts, K. & Watson, D. (2002) Molecular biology of the cell 4th. New york: Garland Publishing.
Becker, W.M., Kleinsmith, L.J., Hardin, J. (2006) The World of the Cell 6th. Pearson, Benjamin/Cummings, San Francisco
Campbell, N.A. & Reece, J.B. (2005) Biology Benjamin/Cummings, San Francisco, USA
Wolpert, L. (1998) Principles of development Oxford UP, Oxford


This module is at CQFW Level 5