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Advocating developmental biology

We are pleased to announce a series of review articles aiming to advocate for the wider importance of developmental biology.

The first set of articles will set out to answer the question “What has developmental biology ever done for us?” with a series of case studies linking particular discoveries in developmental biology to their wider scientific and societal impact. To complement this historical angle, the second set of articles will look forward and explore “What are the big open questions in the field?” We want to explore the fundamental unanswered questions in developmental biology and propose how we might start addressing them.

By providing a rationale for why we do developmental biology and where it is taking us, we hope that these articles will help to advocate for our discipline, providing a useful resource for developmental biology educators and advocates, and also help current researchers to develop their elevator pitches. Read our editorial for more information about the project.

The articles will be free to read and we welcome suggestions for topics readers find particularly compelling - send any inquiries to As the articles get published they will be added to this page.


What has developmental biology ever done for us?

Wnt signalling: conquering complexity

Katrin Wiese, Roel Nusse and Renée van Amerongen


From Drosophila segmentation to human cancer therapy

Philip W. Ingham


The diverse neural crest: from embryology to human pathology

Heather C. Etchevers, Elisabeth Dupin, Nicole M. Le Douarin


Human in vitro fertilisation and developmental biology: a mutually influential history

Martin Johnson



What are the big open questions in the field?

What does time mean in development?

Miki Ebisuya and James Briscoe


How can developmental biology help feed a growing population?

Scott A. Boden and Lars Østergaard


Can laboratory model systems instruct human limb regeneration?

Ben D. Cox, Maximina H. Yun and Kenneth D. Poss


Reclaiming Warburg: using developmental biology to gain insight into human metabolic diseases

Daniela Drummond-Barbosa, Jason M. Tennessen


Associated articles

Introductory Editorial: Advocating developmental biology

Aidan Maartens, Andreas Prokop, Katherine Brown, Olivier Pourquié


Improving the visibility of developmental biology: time for induction and specification

Leonard Zon


Inclusion and exclusion in the history of developmental biology

Nick Hopwood


Advocacy for developmental biology

Andreas Prokop's article on the Node discusses the reasons for advocacy and shares various resources.


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