Introductory development cell biology, Biology tutorial


Developmental Biology basically deals with a multitude of questions occurring from the incredible fact which a single cell, a fertilized egg cell, can give augment to a complex multicellular organism.

The method or process by which a fertilized egg converts it into the complex organism is one of the most fascinating and complex mysteries in the field of biology. How does it occur??

All of us sitting in the room build up from a single egg.

Developmental Biology is basically the study of a process whereby a single cell splits and selectively turns on expression of genes to generate a complex organism composed of numerous cell types.

Therefore beginning with a single cell a sequence of processes can lead to the production of a very complex organism. In this, we are not just going to be explaining how embryos build up (embryology), however as well considering how the methods of growth are brought about, how individual cells in the embryo modify and become specialized for specialist functions (that is, the cellular level), and how genes in the genome of the organism drive and guide such changes (that is, the molecular level).

Most of the multicellular organisms occur by sexual reproduction. Some of the multicellular organisms are able of asexual reproduction, example: simple animals like hydra can reproduce by budding and some plants can be propagated via cuttings, however the vast majority of latest complex organisms occur from a fertilized egg cell as well termed as a ZYGOTE. Based on the genome in a fertilized egg cell, the new individual made could be a frog, fish, mouse, fly or human.

In developing a new organism the fertilized egg cell consists of to give mount to many different cell types example: heart muscle cells, neurons and light sensing cells in the eye, and all such different cell types are generated gradually as the embryo builds up in the right place and at the right time

A) In the growth of most of the multicellular organisms, a single-celled zygote gives mount to cells of several different kinds. Each kind consists of various structure and corresponding function.

B) Cells of similar kinds are organized into tissues, tissues into organs, organs into organ systems, and organ systems into the entire organism.

c) Therefore, the procedure or method of embryonic development should give rise, not just to cells of various types, however to higher-level structures arranged in a specific manner in three dimensions

The principles of development:

Three wide interrelated methods are comprised in building an embryo.

1) Cell division: Cell division and growth are both tightly regulated all through development.

2) Cell differentiation: A complex organism needs lots of hundreds of different cell types to make structures and carry out particular functions. For illustration: red blood cells are needed to carry oxygen, muscle cells are needed for movement, neurons are needed to receive and transmit the signals. The cells which occur by cell division from the zygote have to become different to one other over time.

3) Morphogenesis:  Simply stated as creation of form. How the organism acquires on a three dimensional shape with all the cells kinds in the right position to form structures and perform functions

A short history of Developmental Biology:

Aristotle considered that there is a generative force in the egg however as well considered that the creative principle (form) came from the male and so started lots of centuries of incorrect misogynistic principle.


This was the predominant consideration till the mid nineteenth (19th) Century - all organisms are functioned and contained within sperm or egg.

Early explanation of embryos were poor and re-enforced the thought of 'Preformation' -Hartsocker, in the late 17th century had enhanced the microscope and reported that he could notice a preformed human being within each sperm; he termed it a 'Homunculus'

This is an illustration of a poor science.

The Preformationsists in the 17th and 18th centuries noticed what they expected to observe.

Good science eradicates subjectivity

- Ultimately no real facts for Preformation could be found.

- However proof for the opposing idea of epigenesis was found.


It is the form of an animal emerges steadily from a formless egg. As microscopes enhanced through the 19th century it became ever more clear that what early embryologists were observing was a self generated increase in the complexity:

  • A single cell gives augment to more cells
  • Cells interact to give rise to tissues.
  • Tissues cooperate to give rise to organs.
  • Organs are accumulated into an organism.

Phases of progress in the field of Developmental Biology:

The field of Developmental Biology as we are familiar, in reality just began in the early 19th century and we could split progress since then into four significant phases:

1) Descriptive embryology:

  • Second, third and fourth decades of the 19th century.
  • Enhanced preparation and microscopes led to consistent observations and development of an appropriate vocabulary.
  • Key figure Karl Ernst von Baer (1792-1876), First discovered mammalian egg in the dog in year 1827.

2) Experimental Embryology:

  • Late nineteenth Century, early twentieth century.
  • Manipulated embryos to examine modifications in cells and interactions among cells throughout development
  • Key figures - Roux, Spemann and others.

3) Developmental Genetics:

  • From the mid twentieth Century.
  • The realization which certain genes play significant roles in guiding the development.

4) Molecular Developmental Genetics:

From late 1980s

Determining the genes and examining how they work - what type of gene products they make and how such influence the development.

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