Developmental Biology Including the Development of the Nervous System

15 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 1BG510

Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Biology A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 14 October 2022
Responsible department
Biology Education Centre

Entry requirements

Completed courses of 150 credits including (1) 60 credits in biology and 30 credits in chemistry or 30 credits in earth science, or (2) 90 credits in biology. Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

Learning outcomes

The main aims with the course are to give the students knowledge in developmental biology processes and molecular mechanisms including the development of the nervous system. On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • use main developmental biology concepts
  • explain the molecular mechanisms that underlie animal development
  • account for the properties of stem cells and function in the organism as well as as model system for diseases
  • explain underlying developmental biology processes during tissue development and organogenesis including brain and nervous system
  • account for effects of gene polymorphism on the organism's development and the origin of diseases as well as suggest ethical guidelines for future applications of gene technology
  • review scientific literature in the subject developmental biology critically
  • plan and carry out laboratory sessions as well as interpret results to examine the importance of specific genes in developmental biology processes with zebrafish as model system.


Comparison of different animals' ontogeny including the development of the nervous system of for example human, mouse and zebrafish as well as invertebrate animals.

Molecular mechanisms during different animal development: Axis formation, patterning, regulation of gene expression, cell polarity, cell signalling, growth factors, gradients, differentiation.

Processes during embryogenesis: Gastrulation and germ layers (endo-, meso- and ectoderm). Cell migration, organogenesis, morphogenesis, neurogenesis, nerve and glial cells, neurite development (axon and dendrite), synaptogenesis, brain and spinal cord, nerves. Maturation processes.

Stem cells: definition, properties, role during development and in adult animals, as model system for development and disease. Regeneration.

Effects of individual gene variants on tissue function and on origin of diseases: Mendelian and complex diseases. Symptoms and treatment of diseases with a developmental biology component.

Technologies for modification of zebrafish genomes and ethical considerations: for example CRISPR/Cas9, Cre-Lox and Brainbow system.


Lectures, seminars, laboratory sessions. Active participation in laboratory sessions and seminars is compulsory.


Course modules: Theory 9 credits Laboratory session 4 credits; seminar 2 credits The theory is examined through oral examinations and written final examination. Laboratory sessions and seminars are presented in writing and orally.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the disability coordinator of the university.