Degree course: 
Corso di First cycle degree in BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Supplementary compulsory subjects
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (48 hours)

Previous knowledge on molecular biology, genetics, cell biology and animal biology is required.

Exam sessions are foreseen in the number planned by the Degree Course. The examination consists of an oral interview (two questions) and the outcome of the examination will be marked out of thirty. The acquisition by the student of knowledge concerning the processes that regulate the development of invertebrates and vertebrates will be assessed. The evaluation will take into account the capacity of learning, consultation, and processing of bibliography, and the ability to critically discuss and comment the information acquired during the course.

Voto Finale

The course aims at providing knowledge on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of the development of invertebrates and vertebrates. Starting from morphological and functional aspects of animals, a description of the different patterns of embryonic developmental and information on the main genetic and molecular control mechanisms will be provided. The significance of biological cycles and experimental animal models will be illustrated and the relationships between embryonic development and evolution will be analyzed.
The analysis of the cellular components, extracellular matrix, cellular differentiation and then of the processes that drive the structural organization of the animal body will allow the student to develop conceptual abilities that will enable him to obtain an integrated view of cellular functioning depending on the degree of differentiation. The student will be able to independently investigate the processes by which genes regulate cellular activity during differentiation and development. Moreover, he will acquire the ability to evaluate and elaborate the international literature on developmental biology.

At the end of the course the student will acquire skills on some fundamental topics for a biologist as to evaluate the organization of animals, to describe the mechanism used for the development of an organism, to understand the cellular, molecular, and genetic mechanisms that lead to the development of the main animal models, and to correlate the organizational plan of the main body structures to adaptive and evolutionary aspects.

- Introduction to the course, the anatomical approach, fate mapping
- Life cycles; unicellular organisms and evolution of sexuality; multicellularity (Volvox carteri and Dictyostelium discoideum); animal models for development biology
- The experimental approach: specification; morphogenes; cell-cell interaction
- The genetic approach. Techniques for the analysis of the expression and function of target genes
- The differential gene expression
- Cell adhesion, cell-cell communication (paracrine and iuxtacrine interactions)
- The fertilization process
- Early stages of development of invertebrates: echinoderms, molluscs, tunicates, nematodes
- Early stage development and axis determination in Drosophila melanogaster
- Early stage development and determination of axes in amphibians
- Early stage development and determination of axes in fish, birds and mammals
- The ectoderm: neurogenesis and the nervous system, eye formation, the epidermis
- Neural crest
- Paraxial and intermediate (myogenesis and osteogenesis), and lateral (formation of the circulatory system) mesoderm
- Development of the tetrapod limb
- Metamorphosis in amphibians and insects. The case of the larval midgut of Lepidoptera
- Regeneration: historical frame, epimorphosis and morphallaxis, regeneration of the tetrapod limb, Hydra regeneration
- Evo-Devo: historical frame, principles and examples
- The germ line
- Developmental biology and medicine: ageing, teratogenesis


The course is organized in lectures. Powerpoint presentations will be used during lectures.

Upon appointment via e-mail (