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Developmental Biology

F Semester
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Hours per week



Assistant Professor


Objectives of the course (preferably expressed in terms of learning outcomes and competences):  Learning the basic principles and questions of current Developmental Biology based on several model systems.

Course contents: Introduction to fundamental principles and questions of development and to model experimental systems, invertebrates and vertebrates (sea urchin, nematode, fruit fly, frog, fish, chicken, mouse). Germline formation and gametogenesis (spermatogenesis, oogenesis). Cytoplasmic localisation of morphogenetic factors-cellular polarity, cellular interactions, hormonal regulation, meiosis controlling factors. Mechanisms of fertilisation. Mosaic and regulative embryos, cellular determination and differentiation, morphogens. Types of cleavage, blastula formation, gastrulation, morphogenesis (invertebrates and vertebrates). Neurulation of vertebrates, primary and secondary induction. Molecular patterning of the Drosophila body plan: developmental mutants, morphogenetic fields, axis formation, segmentation, homeotic genes. Molecular patterning of the vertebrate body plan: mesodermal induction and patterning, organising signalling centers, induction and patterning of the neural tube and neural crest cells. Hox code and morphogens in vertebrate somitogenesis, rhombomere formation and limb development. Left-right asymmetry of vertebrate internal organs. Evolution of patterning molecules. Cell lineages, heterochronic mutations, mechanisms of cellular communication in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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The Department of Biology of the University of Crete was established in 1981 and is today an internationally recognized center for contemporary university education and research in the field of Biology.

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