2023-2024 / BIOL0011-1

Biology of animal development


25h Th

Number of credits

 Master in bio-informatics and modelling (120 ECTS)3 crédits 
 Master in biochemistry and molecular and cell biology (120 ECTS)3 crédits 


Bernard Peers

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The course "Biology of animal development" consists of three chapters. The first is devoted to the basics of developmental biology: overview of the major stages of embryogenesis, definitions, description of the various types of regulatory factors controlling cell differentiation, cell communication and morphogenesis. Genetic techniques commonly used to study the expression and function of genes in the embryo will be addressed. The second chapter presents the early stages of embryonic development(from fertilization to the phylotypic stage) in Xenopus ,zebrafish, chick and mouse. The last chapter will focused on the cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling the formation of certain tissues from ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm. The formation of the central nervous system, muscles, limbs and pancreas will be presented as well as the factors involved in cell differentiation of neurons and pancreatic endocrine cells.
The second part of the course also includes a bibliographic personal work on a topic chosen by each student. This work is also integrated with other courses of the "Physiology" module: plant development (Claire Périlleux).

Course Structure:

Chapter I: Basics of developmental biology.
Lesson 1: Definitions, history and general concepts of embryonic development,
The main stages of embryogenesis, the main animal models, the phylotypic stage.
Lesson 2: The molecular factors that control the basic processes in cell differentiation, communication, morphogenesis and growth.
Lesson 3: The techniques used in developmental biology.
- Methods to study gene expression.
- Methods to study gene function (targeted and random mutagenesis, mapping of mutations, the knockdown and transgenesis)
- Methods to study cell fate.
- The classical experimental embryology (transplants, transplants and explants) genes.

Chapter 2: The early stages of development in Xenopus and zebrafish:
Course 4: Xenopus: regulatory genes and factors involved in the first developmental stages
Lesson 5: The zebrafish: genes and regulatory factors involved in the first developmental stages (up to the phylotypic stage)

Chapter 3: Organogenesis
Lesson 6:. Formation of the nervous system from the ectoderm and neurogenesis.
Lesson 7.: The "remodeling" of the mesoderm (somitogenesis, formation of muscles , limbs, ...)
Lesson 8: The "remodeling" of the endoderm and pancreatic organogenesis.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

- Understanding of the basic principles of animal development.
- Knowledge of the various techniques for studying embryogenesis.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

"Bachelier" Courses for the fields of Biology, Physiology, Genetics, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the Gene.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

8 ex-cathedra courses

Recommended or required readings

All powerpoint lessons will be available on ULg website ("portail des étudiants")
If necessary, three books are recommanded :

1) « Developmental Biology » (Scott Gilbert) , De Boeck University

2) « Essential Developmental Biology » (Jonathan Slack),
Blackwell Science

3) « Principles of development » (Lewis Wolpert), Oxford University Press

oral examination

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course



Association of one or more MOOCs

Items online

Developmental biology (animal) Master1 BBMC
support ppt


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