Developmental biology is the study of the process by which living organisms grow and develop.
- Molecular mechanisms of development
Molecular mechanisms of development
During the second half of the 20th century the types of molecules involved in embryonic development were identified. Transcription factors are the key regulators of which genes are expressed in cells. Transcriptional control in the various differentiated cell types allows each type of cell (epithelial, muscle, neuron, etc.) to express different amounts of the possible proteins. The transcription factors are regulated by signal transduction pathways that relay signals from outside of cells to the cell nucleus. Signal transduction pathways often involve receptors, receptor ligands and enzymes such as protein kinases. One key class of genes that are differentially regulated by transcription factors in different cell types are genes for cell adhesion proteins. Cell adhesion proteins are among the key regulators of morphogenesis. Functions of these various proteins in development are often elucidated experimentally using gene knockdown techniques in embryos.
- On the NCBI website, there is a free textbook on Developmental Biology which you can search and read each section.