Developmental Biology @ the Crossroads of Several Disciplines
Developmental biology aims to understand the genetic and cellular mechanisms that underlie embryonic development and contribute to the regulation of physiological processes of multicellular organisms throughout their adult life. It is an “integrated” discipline, at the crossroads of several disciplines such as morphogenesis, physiology, stem cell biology, gene regulation, neurobiology and evolution. Its study involves various approaches including cell biology, molecular biology, genomics, electrophysiology, bioinformatics and biophysics. By using different model organisms (nematode, Drosophila, mouse, chicken, Xenopus …), these different approaches allow the deciphering of the fundamental, and evolutionary conserved, principles that explain how an adult organism is shaped from a single cell. Deregulation of developmental mechanisms is behind the emergence of many diseases such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and genetic diseases.
The study of developmental biology offers the key for the therapies of tomorrow.