Molecular Principles of Development
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleNWI-BB084B
Credits (ECTS)6
Category03 (Advanced)
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Science; BioWetenschappen;
PreviousNext 2
dr. H. Marks
Other course modules lecturer
dr. H. Marks
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. H. Marks
Other course modules lecturer
dr. H. Marks
Other course modules lecturer
dr. K.W. Mulder
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2020
KW2  (02/11/2020 to 24/01/2021)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
At the end of the course:
  1. you understand the principles of animal development and the associated key terms and concepts, and are able to explain these terms and concepts in a way that demonstrates a correct understanding of the relevant molecular and developmental processes and mechanisms
  2. your are able to interpret and evaluate experimental results (such as embryonic expression patterns and phenotypes) demonstrated by the ability to derive and justify meaningful and legitimate conclusions from experimental data
The development of the fertilized egg, a single cell, into a sophisticated multicellular organism is one of the most dynamic, complex and fascinating phenomena in biology. Embryogenesis entails many processes: changes in differentiation potential (competence), regional specification, patterning, and morphogenesis to name a few. These complex processes are highly dynamic and strongly regulated. Major discoveries have been made regarding the mechanisms underlying normal development; the 2012 Nobel prize for physiology or medicine was awarded for the discovery that cells can be reprogrammed, which is a dramatic reset of cellular potency.

Cells can be induced to adopt a state of pluripotency, but can also transdifferentiate to other cell types. These discoveries are relevant for regenerative medicine and have spurred a renewed interest in the regulatory mechanisms of embryogenesis. The course links genes, gene products and pathways to the complex processes underlying developmental biology.

Instructional modes
  • Tutorial
  • Lecture
  • Self-study

Presumed foreknowledge
The student is expected to have prior knowledge corresponding to the subject matter of the courses Advanced Molecular Biology (AMB) and Medical Embryology (ME). Students who have not followed these courses are expected to address any deficiencies in prior knowledge using the following book chapters:
  • Harvey Lodish et al., Molecular Cell Biology, 7th edition, chapters 4, 7, 8, and 19
  • Bruce M. Carlson, Human Embryology and Developmental Biology, 4th edition, chapters 5 and 6
Test information
  • Mandatory participation in Questions and Answers (werkcolleges)
  • Mandatory participation in Practical
  • Mandatory participation in Computer practical
  • The extent to which students have attained the course objectives will be tested with a written exam with open questions and with computer practical assignments. The exam will contribute 80% to the final grade; the remaining 20% is comprised of computer practical assignments. Use of a dictionary is allowed during the written exam. Conform the rules and regulations of the Faculty of Science, it is required to have a minimum score of 5 for both the exam and the computer practical assignments, while the score for the total course should be 5.5 of higher to successfully pass the course.
This course will be completely taught and examined in English. Due to the mandatory computer practical it is very difficult, if not impossible, to participate simultaneously in other activities / courses.

In the case of not being able to attend one or more practical courses/lab days due to corona measures, the course coordinator will decide if the student is obligated to re-take the missed meeting and how this will take place.
Required materials
Lewis Wolpert, Cheryll Tickle, and Alfonso Martinez Arias, Principles of Development, 6th edition (2019).

Instructional modes
Attendance MandatoryYes

Lab course
Attendance MandatoryYes

Practical computer training
Attendance MandatoryYes

Digital Exam
Test weight4
Test typeDigital exam with CIRRUS
OpportunitiesBlock KW2, Block KW3, Block KW4

Test weight1
Test typeDigital exam with CIRRUS
OpportunitiesBlock KW2, Block KW3