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Vision and Change Teacher-Recommended Collection: Developmental Biology of Vertebrates

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Description Collection Description
The collection contains valuable resources for teaching an undergraduate course in Developmental Biology of Vertebrates. It contains laboratory activities, animations and videos, student-centered activities and literature reviews. This collection is designed to engage students in learning the concepts of Developmental Biology using simulations and laboratory interactive activities.

How were the items in this collection used?
The collection was designed for teaching a third-year level undergraduate course on “Developmental Biology of Vertebrates”. The course has not been offered for years in my institution. The resources elucidate aspects of animals’ development that would help students understand the difficult concepts of development. Usually the course has to address first the invertebrates' development to address basic concepts of development. Therefore, the collection contains resources that elucidate development of vertebrates as well as invertebrates.

Who used this collection?
I designed this collection for teaching a third-year level Biology majors undergraduates in "Developmental Biology in Vertebrates".

Which of the V&C Core Concepts does this collection address?
Evolution ('The diversity of life evolved over time by processes of mutation, selection, and genetic change.')
The resource " Fossil Record of Stickleback Evolution" is a collection has a wide variety of classroom application. The collection indicates by studying fossils of stickleback fish in different layers that the size of pelvic spine has be changed over tens of thousands of years.

Structure & Function ('Basic units of structure define the function of all living things.')
The animations/videos demonstrate the relationship between structure and function of cells. The site Developmental Biology shows the features of different types of animal tissues. These slides demonstrate how structure of cells relate to their function.

Information Flow, Exchange, and Storage ('The growth and behavior of organisms are activated through the expression of genetic information in context.')
The collection demonstrate the organismal development is controlled by a huge number of genes and that cell signaling plays an important role in pattern/planes of development of an organism. The three resources titled "Interactive fly" show the conservation of many genes controlling development of organism and also show that different genes control development on different stages of vertebrate development. Other resources indicate this aspect very clearly as well like (HHMI human embryonic development).

Pathways and Transformations of Energy and Matter ('Biological systems grow and change by processes based upon chemical transformation pathways and are governed by the laws of thermodynamics.')
Resources show the importance of cell signaling in development. In addition, there are videos showing clearly how the form of energy is changeable in biological system. The resource on Sea urchin embryology: sperm experiment good resource that indicates the transformation of energy because sperms store a high amount of energy.

Systems ('Living systems are interconnected and interacting.')
Selective resources in the collection show the development of embryos of different organisms. In addition, the collection demonstrate that development of all systems of vertebrates are in harmony (Head/neck development; Heart development and others).

Which of the V&C Core Competencies and Disciplinary Practices does this collection address?
Ability to Apply the Process of Science ('Biology is evidence based and grounded in the formal practices of observation, experimentation, and hypothesis testing.')
The hands-on activities including laboratory guide address this competency very well. The observation is followed by a hypothesis testing, experimentation and then interpretation of results. The hands-on activities on sea urchin sperms, chicken heart lab. and resources in the collection allow students to test the hypothesis, collect data and have discussions.

Ability to Use Quantitative Reasoning ('Biology relies on applications of quantitative analysis and mathematical reasoning.')
The experimentation allow students to collect data and analyze them statistically. In addition, addition, there are resources in the collection illustrate charts of for development time of vertebrates like humans' embryo and frogs. In specific, the resources (visible embryo: 14 weeks and Human Embryo) show human development. Xenbase show the development time and temperature charts for the frog Xenopus.

Ability to Use Modeling and Simulation ('Biology focuses on the study of complex systems.')
The collection has resources that show how studying the development of certain organs could be different in different organism or in the same organism but at different life stages. Limb regeneration in specific and complete wound healing in general are great examples of the complexity of biological systems. The article paper on limb regeneration represent this aspect.

Ability to Tap into the Interdisciplinary Nature of Science ('Biology is an interdisciplinary science.')
The collection has resources indicating the relationship between the Developmental Biology, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Immunohistochemistry and other fields. This relationship is demonstrated mainly in these three resources: Xenbase, Zebrafish lab. manual and Protocols online.

Ability to Communicate and Collaborate with Other Disciplines ('Biology is a collaborative scientific discipline.')
The Orgami embryo is a resource addresses clearly this aspect. There are other resources indicate that studying development relates and relies on other disciplines like Genetics, Anatomy, Molecular Biology, mathematics, Nutrition thermodynamics and Therapeutic Medicine.

Ability to Understand the Relationship between Science and Society ('Biology is conducted in a societal context.')
There are resources in the collection illustrating the importance Developmental Biology to the society. Regenerative Medicine and Gene Therapy are fields that hold promise to improve human's life by applying the knowledge of understanding vertebrate development to cure diseases that are due to failure of complete regeneration and wound healing of injured tissues. The article on Regeneration of the limb and Xenbase literature demonstrate this concept. Another resource in the collection which is a link in the CDC website (Human Development and Disabilities) address the important of some nutrients of mothers to avoid selective birth diseases. It also highlights on the importance of the participation of individuals with disabilities to life.

Please enter suggestions for colleagues.
Faculty who uses hands-on activity are recommended to practice it before the lab. to decide about any possible modifications to accommodate the level of students and class size.

Type of Resource Annotated Collection
Format Multiple Formats
Lubna Abu-Niaaj, Central State University
Grade/Age Levels Undergraduate lower division (Grades 13-14)
Undergraduate upper division (Grades 15-16)
Learning Time 2-3 hours
Language English
Type of Review Reviewed by Partner Organization

Resources in Collection
Click on any teaching resource's title for detailed information.
Web Site Links
Developmental Biology-Online
The site demonstrate the developmental stages of many vertebrates including amphibians, chicken, zebrafish. In addition, there is a collection of histological slides for different types of animal tissues. Furthermore, the site compares oogenesis and spermatogenesis in general.
Fossil Record of Stickleback Evolution
The animations in this section have a wide variety of classroom applications. I used it mainly to correlate development of organisms with evolution.
How a baby's hand develop
A video shows the process of development of human's hand via cell signaling that triggers apoptosis. A very short video but the students like it.
Human Development and Disability
The resource can be used for discussions to clarify the relationship between developmental abnormalities and the resulting diseases. It can also address the importance that good health of mothers allows the prevention of certain birth diseases and therefore, it allows the production of healthy individuals.
Meiosis-Sexual Reproduction
A video illustrates meiosis as a type of cells division that occurs in sex cells. This is a supportive activity in lecture and lab.
A model of organogenesis.
This resource could be used as a lab activity to illustrate the formation of different layers of embryo during organ formation. It also can be used by the teacher while explaining the lab to illustrate the mechanism. The first choice is better.
Protocols online -Molecular Biology
This resource is a collection of protocols for experiments in the field of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics. It is a great resource for lab work.
Regeneration of the limb: opinions on the reality
A journal article for discussion. The resource allows the thinking of therapeutic applications of cell biology to cure diseases.
This site is an excellent resource of information on the African clawed frog, Xenopus.. It has a broad range of database including BLAST, Genome Browsers, Expression, Genes, Anatomy and Development, Reagents and Protocols, Literature and more.


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