After the first week of developmental biology, I am eager to dive into the specifics of the subject. In class, we have been discussing the history and growth within the field. Initially, theories of developmental biology were formed by scientists through movement from general to specific ideas. As stated in von Baer's Laws, general characters of an embryo appear earlier than specific. Currently in the field, scientists are continuing to gain knowledge through this very approach.
In a recent news story, "Sea Urchins Reveal Medical Mysteries", scientists have looked to sea urchins for answers to human diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and cancer. As a result of a common ancestor of humans and sea urchins (as well as other organisms), the two species share more than 7,000 genes. With the advantage of a fast reproduction rate, common genetics, and perfect matches to certain amino acids, sea urchins make for a great research tool. The capability to map out the DNA of the organisms allows scientists to understand the complexity of shared genetics of humans, which could be extremely advantageous for the comprehension of many diseases, as well as the prevention or treatment of such.
Although we are only starting with the history of developmental biology, the implications of such a simple statement, general characters of an embryo appear earlier than specific, are magnificent. Sea urchins serve as a simple basis for the understanding of developmental biology of other organisms, including humans.
Link to News Story: http://www.sciencedaily.com/videos/2007/0304-sea_urchins_reveal_medical_mysteries.htm