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Biology 45 (Embryology)
 Faculty-in-charge (midterms):
Reggie Yadao-dela Cruz, Ph.D.
Grading system
 40% midterm exam
 40% quizzes and long exams
 10% written report
 10% project
Written Report
 Select two or more related journal
articles on any new embryology topic
 Make a summary/synthesis
 Make a reaction
 Literally, it means study of embryos
 Embryo – juvenile stage of an animal while
it is within the egg envelopes or in the
maternal parent.
 Study of the stages of the development
of an organism from egg to complete
 Study of the ontogenetic development of
Ontogenetic development
 Individual development
 Used to denote the processes that are
involved in the transformation of the
fertilized egg, or some other rudiment
derived from a parent organism, into
a new adult individual.
Phylogenetic development
 Historical development of species or
 Evolutionary development or
 Orderly sequence of change leading
to increase in complexity that occurs
during the growth of an organism
 Involved a series of complex
biochemical pathways whose steps
are under gene control
 Fertilized egg  multicellular organism
We Develop from a Single Cell…
One initial cell, the fertilized egg
(zygote), generates hundreds of
different kinds of cells that differ
in contents, shape, size, color,
mobility, and surface composition.
Two major functions of
 Generates cellular diversity and
order within each generation.
 Ensures the continuity of life
from one generation to the next
Developmental programs in
plants and animals differ
 there is movement of cells and tissues
 Growth is limited to embryo and juvenile
 Presence of perpetual embryonic tissues
( apical meristems)
 Continuous growth of new organs
What particles are
responsible for development?

 All the properties of any organism are
determined in the last instance by the
sequence of base triplets (codon) in
the DNA molecules.
Differences among cells in
multicellular organisms
 Due to different patterns of gene
 Not from differences in the genome
of cells
 All cells have the same genes
(genomic equivalence) because these
are all derived from a single-celled
Differences among cells in
multicellular organisms
Differences among cells in
multicellular organisms
Three processes that can
overlap during development
 Cell Division
 Cell Differentiation
 cell selectively activates genes and synthesizes
proteins not found in other cell types
 Cells become specialized in structure and function
 e.g. erythrocytes – has hemoglobin
beta cells of pancrease - synthesize insulin
mesophyll cells in leaves – synthesize
 Morphogenesis = processes that organize
different cells into tissues and organs
Initial aspects of
 Establishment of initial/basic body
 Requires cell division, differentiation
and selective cell death (apoptosis)
Initial aspects of
Initial aspects of
Developmental genetics
 Study of relationships between gene
regulation and cell differentiation
during development
 Deals with coordinated expression of
genes from fertilization to adult
Developmental genetics Developmental genetics Developmental genetics Developmental genetics Developmental genetics
Regulated growth
and differentiation
Interactions of genome
With internal cellular and
External environment
Genetic Basis of Development
 Differential gene action or
 Differential gene expression
 Turning ON or OFF of genes at the right
place and time
 Production of gene product in the right
form and right amount
Genetic Basis of Development
Genetic Basis of Development Genetic Basis of Development
Differential gene
 Involves a cascade of regulatory genes
that are activated and act at the proper
time and place
 Product (i.e. protein) of one set of genes
trigger the expression of next set of
 Regulatory genes encode transcription
activator proteins that bind to the
promoter of next set of genes
Central dogma of life
Intriguing questions

 How are genes to be expressed activated
in a coordinated manner?
 How is expression of other genes
 How are developmental decisions fr0zen?
 Is differentiation accompanied by
secondary qualitative and quantitative
changes in structure and accessibility of
the genome?
Intriguing questions

Pattern regulating genes in Drosophila(fruit fly)
Homeotic or
selector genes
Segment polarity
Pair rule gene
Gap gene
Historical Review
 Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) – described the
development of the chick in the egg
 Galen (130-200 A.D.) – learned much
about the structure of relatively
advanced fetuses
 Hamm and Leeuwenhoek (1677) – first
observed human sperm
 De Graaf (1672) = discovered ovarian
Theory of
 Two camps:
 Spermists
 ovists
 Bonnet (1745) = discovered
parthenogenesis in eggs of some insects
 Strengthened ovist’s cause
 Spallanzani (1722-1799) = demonstrated
that in normal circumstances both male
and female sex products are necessary
for the initiation of development
Kaspar Friedrich Wolff
 Epigenesis (1759)
 Embryonic development occurs through
progressive remodelling and growth.
Karl Ernst von Baer
 More general basic features of any
animal group appear earlier in
development than do special features
that are peculiar to different
members of the group (von Baer’s
Biogenetic Law or Baer’s
 Features that characterize all
vertebrate animals (brain and spinal
cord, notochord, segmented muscles,
aortic arches) are developed earlier
than the features distinguishing the
various classes of vertebrates (hair in
mammals, feather in birds).

Biogenetic Law or Baer’s
 “Ontogeny is a recapitulation of
 Events that happened in thousands of
millions of years (phylogeny) is now
performed in a matter of days and weeks
Matthias Schleiden and
Theodor Schwann (1839)
 Cell theory

 Then… the foundation of modern
embryology was laid down and
embryology as a science began
Special Fields of
 Descriptive Embryology
 basic structural pattern of the embryonic body
 Comparative Embryology (late 19
 Evolution as the greatest driving force
 Experimental embryology
 Causative factors in development
 Chemical embryology
 Descriptive information about chemical and
physiological events in the embryo
 Teratology – study of malformations

Developmental biology
 Not only embryonic development but
also postnatal processes such as
normal or neoplastic growth,
metamorphosis, regeneration and
tissue repair at levels of complexity
ranging from molecular to
Differential gene expression can be
detected in early fly embryos before
cells are morphologically different.
Developmental Biology Reveals Changes in the
Properties of Cells as They Specialize.
Experimental embryology
 Roux (1850-1924):

 Schmidt (1933)
2 normal
Some striking results of
experimental embryology

Methods in Experimental embryology
 Extirpation/ablation – removal of
small parts of embryos and careful
analyses of the development effects
that resulted
 Parabiosis – transplantation of
various parts of embryos from place
and place within the embryo or even
the conjoining of two entire embryos
Methods in Experimental embryology
 Transplantation
 Autografting – same embryo
 Heterografting –different species
 Xenografting –different order
 Explantation
 excising small sample of embryonic tissue
and growing it in an artificial environment.
 Also called microsurgical methods

New biotechnologies
 Sperm sorting
 Selective fertilization
 In vitro fertilization
Genomic equivalence in
 Differentiated somatic cells in plants
can be triggered in a culture medium
to produce a whole plant
Genomic equivalence in
 Animals will not often divide in culture
done: nucleus of a differentiated cell is
transplanted into enucleated egg cells
normal development
 Source of nucleus should be
undifferentiated cells of an embryo
because these cells are totipotent
 Cells that retain the ability of the
zygote to give rise to all specialized
cells of a mature organism
 Totipotent cells retain the ability to
proceed through all stages of
development and thus produce a
normal adult
Stages in cell type
 Cell determination
 Stage when the cell becomes committed to
perform a specialized function
 Involves ‘cell memory’ that is self
 Pre-requisite to differentiation
 Cell differentiation
 Expression of the cell’s predetermined
specialized role
The path a cell takes is
influenced by:
1. Environment (cytoplasmic)
 Influences which genes turn on or off
2. Cell lineage
 Activity of progeny cells affected by
progenitor cells
 Progenitor cell gene activity pattern is
passed on to progeny cell
Cell lineage
Patterns of gene expression
is self-sustaining
1. Cytoplasmic memory

2. Nuclear memory or genome
Patterns of gene expression
is self-sustaining
1. Cytoplasmic memory
 “something” in the cytoplasm can
trigger the switching on or switching
off of genes

Patterns of gene expression
is self-sustaining
2. Nuclear memory or genome
 Self-sustaining changes
occurring/intrinsic to the chromosome
 Selection of genes to be expressed
 Condensation-decondensation pattern
of chromatin
 Pattern of methylation of DNA

Natural test for Nuclear
1. Obtain egg and sperm cells
 have identical set of genes but
different state of differentiation
 Question: Do sperm and egg-derived
chromosomes remain functionally
different in zygote?
 Yes, because of nuclear memory
Transplantation experiment
2 paternal nuclei  defective zygote
2 maternal nuclei defective zygote
Maternal nucleus and paternal nucleus 
normal zygote

 Maternal and paternal chromosomes
express different genes due to nuclear
 Some genes are expressed are inherited
from the father and others from the mother