Developmental Biology Matters

Prenatal Care

Teratogen and Congenital Anomaly

Thalidomide: limb and ear abnormalities

Alcohol: fetal alcohol syndrome

Zika virus: microcephaly

Model organisms are used for screening teratogeens

... and to study the mechanisms of teratogenesis


Folic acid supplement

recommended by NHS

prevents neural tube defects

Stem Cells

ES Cells

pluripotent stem cells

derived from ICM of blastocystes

ethical controversy

iPS Cells

Yamanaka factors → fibroblasts

functionally similar to ES cells

Application of iPS Cells

regenerative medicine

organoid models

Cancer as a Disease of Development

Carcinogenesis recapitulates steps of normal development

Classical view: cancer cells proliferate independently

Cancer cells modify their environment

reciprocal interaction

common signalling pathways

Signalling Pathways

Defect in cell-cell contact

Defect in paracrine signalling

Teratogens may prevent cancer cell proliferation

Cancer Stem Cells

Some tumour cells are analogous to, or derived from adult stem cells

Lgr5+ intestinal adenoma stem cells


Gilbert, Scott F., and Michael J. F. Barresi. 2016. Developmental Biology. 11th ed. Sinauer Associates.

Slack, Jonathan M. W. 2018. Essential Developmental Biology. 3rd Ser. WIley-Blackwell.

Takeo, Makoto, and Takashi Tsuji. 2018. “Organ Regeneration Based on Developmental Biology: Past and Future.” Current Opinion in Genetics & Development 52: 42–47.

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