COURSE OUTLINE                                                                           


Course Code: ZOL-508

Credit Hours: 4(3+1)


The course aims to:

  • Provide information on transmission of traits from the parents in their gametes, the formation of zygote and its development
  • Impart detailed knowledge about cellular basis of morphogenesis, mechanisms of cellular differentiation and induction.
  • Provide understanding of the mechanisms of organogenesis, factors controlling growth and oncogenesis.


Introduction: Principal features of development, origin of sexual reproduction, developmental patterns; Spermatogenesis; Oogenesis. Fertilization: Recognition of sperm and egg, fusion of gametes, activation of egg metabolism, rearrangement of egg cytoplasm.

Cleavage: Patterns of embryonic cleavage, mechanism of cleavage. Gastrulation: Fate maps, gastrulation in sea urchin, amphibians, birds and mammals.

Early Vertebrate Development: Neurulation, ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm.

Cellular Basis of Morphogenesis: Differential cell affinity, cell adhesion molecules.

Mechanism of Cellular Differentiation: RNA processing, translational regulation of developmental process, cell-fate by progressive determinants, autonomous cell specification by cytoplasmic determinants, establishment of body axes and mechanism of teratogenesis; Secondary Induction.

Organogenesis: A brief account; Origin and migration of germ cells in vertebrates.

Factors controlling growth and oncogenesis. Post embryonic Development and metamorphosis

Hormones as mediators of development; Regeneration in vertebrates.

 Books Recommended

1. Gilbert, S. F. 2012. Developmental Biology, Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA.

2. Klaus, K. 2001. Biological Development. 2nd Ed., McGraw Hill.

3. Balinsky, B. I. 1985. An Introduction to Embryology, Saunders.

4. Carlson. M. B. 2014. Human embryology and developmental biology, Fifth edition


  1. Study of the structure of gametes in some representative cases, i.e. frog, fish, fowl and a mammal.
  2. Study of cleavage and subsequent development from prepared slides and/or whole mounts in various animals i.e., frog, chick etc. Study of fertilization, early development of frog/fish through induced spawning under laboratory conditions.
  3. Preparation and study of serial sections of frog or chick embryos.
  4. Application of microsurgical techniques on chick embryos Invitro.Preparation and staining of histological slides.

Assessment Criteria

  • Sessional: 10% (Presentation: 5% and participation: 5%)
  • Practical: 15% 
  • Midterm exam/ Term paper: 25%
  • Final exam: 50%

Time Table

M.Sc 2nd semester (R) Paper: Developmental biology







no video

Course Material