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Animal Developmental Biology

Module titleAnimal Developmental Biology
Module codeBIO3091
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Tetsu Kudoh (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

All animals on this planet develop from a single fertilised egg. In this module you will study different mechanisms and patterns of embryonic development by which a single fertilised egg can give rise to a diversity of animal life. During the module you will focus on specific subjects in the developmental biology of animals including fertilisation, pattern formation in invertebrate and vertebrate embryos, tissue specification, gene regulation, signal transduction, stem cell function, regeneration and evo-devo (evolution of development). This is an advanced module on animal developmental biology and you will investigate frontiers of knowledge and research in this fascinating subject.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module focuses on specific topics in animal developmental biology and, through lectures, research, student-led seminars and reflective criticism, you will be challenged to investigate new developments in selected developmental biology themes.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Research, evaluate and critically assess through careful consideration of examples the biological basis and theoretical implications of selected animal developmental concepts

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 2. Evaluate in detail approaches to our understanding of molecular and cell biology when applied to animal development, with reference to primary literature, reviews and research articles
  • 3. Analyse in detail essential facts and theory in a subdiscipline of the biosciences
  • 4. Analyse and evaluate independently a range of research-informed literature and synthesise research-informed examples from the literature into written work

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Communicate effectively arguments, evidence and conclusions using written and oral means in a manner appropriate to the intended audience
  • 6. Devise and sustain, with little guidance, a logical and reasoned argument with sound, convincing conclusions
  • 7. Analyse and evaluate appropriate data with very limited guidance
  • 8. Work in a small team and deal proficiently with the issues that teamwork requires (i.e. communication, motivation, decision-making, awareness, responsibility, and management skills, including setting and working to deadlines)

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Specific topics in developmental biology of animals will be covered including pattern formation, tissue specification, gene regulation, stem cell function, regeneration and evo-devo. You will research, analyse, evaluate and give a short lecture in a chosen aspect of developmental biology from a range of titles. For the student-led lecture you will work in a small group (normally three per group) to analyse and evaluate data and theories from literature to the class. The presentation will be followed by questions and discussion involving the whole class. When you prepare for the lecture, you will meet with and receive guidance from the lecturer associated with the module. Your lecture will be assessed by both a group mark and an individual mark, with equal weighting given to each. You will give lectures on specific topics as follows:

  • Sperm physiology and fertilisation
  • Marine invertebrate development
  • Vertebrate model organisms
  • Brain development
  • The role of programmed cell death in nematode development
  • Stem cells and regeneration
  • Evolution and developmental biology

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching13Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching7Student led lectures and resultant class discussion
Guided Independent Study100Reading, research and revision
Guided Independent Study30Reading and preparation for seminars and presentations


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Formative question and answer session within lectures5 minutes per lecture2-3, 5-6Oral
Initial plan for student-led lecture10 hoursAllOral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay examination602 hours1-7Written
Student led lecture and resultant class discussion2050 minutesAllWritten
Class test201 hour1-7Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay examinationEssay examination1-7August Ref/Def
Student led lecture and resultant class discussionNot applicableNot applicableNot applicable
Class testEssay examination1-7August Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The discussion assessment is not deferrable because of its practical nature. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to sit a further examination. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Primary research literature, review articles, partly selected by students

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Embryo, signal transduction, differentiation, diversity, pattern formation, stem cells, regeneration, evolution, development, fertilisation, marine invertebrates, programmed cell death, brain development, model animals

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

BIO1331 Animals

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date