Genes and Development

Module code: BS3018

Module co-ordinator: Dr Fred Tata 

In this module you will study in detail how genes control development, drawing on examples from a variety of model organisms. You will see how common molecular mechanisms underlie the development of diverse organisms; and explore the techniques that allow us to analyse and manipulate gene action during development.

Topics covered

  • Common developmental mechanisms in diverse organisms: shedding light on human genetic diseases
  • Methods for analysing and manipulating gene function in Drosophila
  • Cell adhesion and cell positioning
  • Intercellular signalling as a regulator of cell fate
  • Genetic dissection of neurogenesis
  • Mouse transgenic technologies: gene targeting; replacement (knock-out) targeting vectors; double replacement targeting vectors; knock-in targeting vectors; conditional gene targeting; regulatable transgenes
  • Genes and behaviour: sexual behaviour in Drosophila as part of development; molecular basis of sex determination and sex-specific nervous system differentiation; modifying sexual behaviour by manipulating gene expression in the brain; mutations that change sexual identity; sexual behaviour
  • Molecular genetic models of floral morphogenesis: polarity in cell fate determination; asymmetric cell divisions in plant development


  • 34 one-hour lectures
  • 1 three-hour practical
  • 2 one-hour tutorials


  • Exam, 3 hours (70%)
  • Essay (21%)
  • Poster/oral presentation (9%)