Networking development by Boolean logic

Nucleus. 2013 Mar-Apr;4(2):89-91. doi: 10.4161/nucl.23986. Epub 2013 Feb 14.


Eric Davidson at Caltech has spent several decades investigating the molecular basis of animal development using the sea urchin embryo as an experimental system although his scholarship extends to all of embryology as embodied in several editions of his landmark book. In recent years his laboratory has become a leading force in constructing gene regulatory networks (GRNs) operating in sea urchin development. This axis of his work has its roots in this laboratory's cDNA cloning of an actin mRNA from the sea urchin embryo (for the timeline, see ref. 1)--one of the first eukaryotic mRNAs to be cloned as it turned out. From that point of departure, the Davidson lab has drilled down into other genes and gene families and the factors that regulate their coordinated regulation, leading them into the GRN era (a field they helped to define) and the development of the computational tools needed to consolidate and advance the GRN field.

Keywords: computational embryology; development; gene regulatory networks; sea urchin; specification.

MeSH terms

  • Actins / genetics
  • Animals
  • Computational Biology
  • Gene Regulatory Networks*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Sea Urchins / embryology*
  • Sea Urchins / genetics*
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway / genetics


  • Actins
  • RNA, Messenger