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Registration for the Fall 2019 semester begins June 25.  Watch your email for more details.

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Regulation of Development

Course Code: BIOL 3622
Faculty: Science & Technology
Department: Biology
Credits: 5.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Lab
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course examines the processes which underlie animal development with a focus on how these processes are regulated. Topics discussed include an overview of the field, an overview of transcriptional regulation, how cells break symmetry, the role of morphogen gradients in development, the formation of body plans, the role of non-coding RNA molecules, cell fate plasticity, sex determination, dosage compensation, epigenetics and imprinting.

Course Content

1. OVERVIEW OF DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY

  • Introduction to the processes involved in development

  • Key questions that developmental biologists try to answer

  • Introduction to commonly used experimental approaches

2. OVERVIEW OF TRANSCRIPTIONAL GENE REGULATION

  • Cis vs. trans regulation

  • Identification and characterization of core promoters, enhancers, silencers, boundary elements/insulators and locus control regions

3. BREAKING SYMMETRY

  • Symmetrical vs. asymmetrical development

  • Maternal effect genes

  • Transition from maternal to zygotic gene expression

  • Establishing the dorsal-ventral axis

  • Establishing the anterior posterior axis

  • Establishing the left-right axis

4. MORPHOGEN GRADIENTS

  • Formation of a gradient

  • Drosophila species segmentation genes (maternal effect, gap, pair rule and segment polarity)

  • Transcription factor binding affinity

  • Combinatorial control

5. BODY PLAN ORGANIZATION

  • Introduction to homeotic genes

  • Homeobox cluster duplications and evolution

  • Apoptosis

6. REGULATION OF EXPRESSION BY NON-CODING RNA MOLECULES

  • Isometric vs. allometric growth

  • Introduction to heterochronic genes

  • Identification of regulatory RNA molecules

  • Formation and function of short non-coding RNA molecules (e.g. microRNAs, piRNAs and snoRNA)

  • Formation and function of  long non-coding RNA molecules

7. CELL FATE PLASTICITY

  • Introduction to cell fate specification

  • Specified vs. determined cell fates

  • Necessary vs. sufficient transcription factors  expression

  • Maintenance of gene regulation through mitosis (e.g. polycomb and trithorax proteins)

8. SEX DETERMINATION AND DOSAGE COMPENSATION

  • Genetic basis for sex determination

  • Introduction of the concept of gene dosage

  • Strategies for dosage maintenance

9. EPIGENETIC INHERITANCE AND IMPRINTING

  • Introduction to epigenetics

  • Introduction to genomic imprinting

  • Role of DNA methylation in expression

  • Environmentally induced epigenetic changes

Methods of Instruction

Lectures

Laboratory activities

Discussion groups

Readings from scientific journal articles

Projects (e.g. poster presentations, research papers, group presentations)

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will present a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester. Evaluation will be based on the following:

Evaluation

Marks

Quizzes and/or assignments   

10-20

Term project

20-30

Laboratory activities 

10-20

Term examination 1

20-30

Term examination 2

20-30

TOTAL

100

Learning Outcomes

Upon completing this course students should be able to:

  1. explain the basic principles underlying animal developmental regulation
  2. explain the complex processes needed to turn a single cell into a whole organism

  3. describe how proteins, RNA and DNA interact to control the on/off state of gene expression

  4. describe the processes involved in organizing a developing embryo

  5. explain how the scientific method is used to answer questions relating to developmental biology

  6. analyze scientific data, interpret them in the proper context, formulate hypotheses, and design future experiments that build upon the data studied

course prerequisites

BIOL 2321 and BIOL 2421

Corequisites

None

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.

assessments

If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.