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The University of Southampton

BIOL3006 Cellular and Genetic Aspects of Animal Development

Module Overview

This module aims to understand the cellular and genetic mechanisms of animal development and how they are studied.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aim of this module is to understand the cellular and genetic mechanisms of animal development and how they are studied.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Discuss long term health implications of early embryonic environment (TPF)
  • Define how do calvarial derived osteoblasts differ from long bone derived osteoblast and explain how studying the could skull help with the treatment of osteoporosis (CC)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of how germ cells become gametes and the relative importance of genetics versus environment on sex determination (KJ)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the molecular events of meiosis , with females as the example, and how the events of fertilisation cause the transition from meiosis into embryo development (KJ)
  • Describe the molecular mechanism of fertilisation and the roles of calcium and PLCzeta (SL)
  • Provide examples of the biotechnologies available for the manipulation of mammalian reproduction (MV)
  • Discuss the role of cell-matrix interactions in development, with particular emphasis on the collagen protein family (NS)
  • Outline the mechanisms of left-right patterning (NS)
  • Understand formation of the vertebrate eye as an example of a developmental induction system (NS)
  • Using experimental evidence define the role of Runx2/ Cbfa1 in the regulation of cartilage and bone development (CC)


The topics covered on this course are aspects of animal development from a cellular and genetic perspective and commonly represent areas of particular interest or research of the staff teaching. In this unit, we will cover the molecular and cellular mechanisms of mammalian reproduction and development using mainly the mouse, and implications for human health. We will also examine the role of different model organisms in understanding the developmental programme. We will investigate mechanisms of left-right asymmetry, the development of the eye and the role of extracellular matrix and cell signalling in development. Lastly, we will consider craniofacial development and discuss how our understanding of early skull development could help in the treatment of bone diseases

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, coursework exercises with feedback, private study.

Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Gilbert, Wolpert, Slack. Developmental Biology. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 25%
Written exam  (2 hours) 75%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 25%
Written exam  (2 hours) 75%
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