Reflections on the past, present and future of developmental biology

Dev Biol. 2022 Aug;488:30-34. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2022.05.001. Epub 2022 May 10.


Developmental Biology embodies some of the most fundamental questions in Biology and can trace its roots back to several thousand years ago; the last 100 years have been particularly extraordinary. In part the advances have been fuelled by new technical advances and knowledge in many other areas, which have contributed to shaping the field as truly interdisciplinary. During those 100 years some of our predecessors identified some key questions and a few important principles especially by trying to find general rules that govern what cells are able to do and how they choose between different options, as well as principles of experimental design that can be used to uncover those rules even before we know their physicochemical underpinnings. But the field has been changing rapidly in the last two decades. Here I present a brief overview of some of the changes that have taken place over the last Century and a personal view of current directions. The picture that emerges is of some dark clouds on the horizon, so this is also a call to arms for our colleagues to try to regain what the field has been losing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Developmental Biology*