Int. J. Dev. Biol. 47: 93 - 97 (2003)
© UPV/EHU Press

From field to gel blot: teaching a holistic view of developmental phenomena to undergraduate biology students at the University of Tokyo.

Takashi Ariizumi and Makoto Asashima

SORST, Japan Science and Technology Corporation, The University of Tokyo, Japan.

ABSTRACT We present here an outline of the lectures and laboratory exercises for undergraduate developmental biology students at the University of Tokyo. The main aim of our course is to help students fill the gap between natural history, classical embryology and molecular developmental biology. To achieve this aim, we take up various topics in the lectures, from fertilization and early development to developmental engineering. Our laboratory exercises begin with an introduction to the natural history of the organism. The entire class and the instructors collect newts in the field and discuss features of their mating behavior and so on. In the laboratory, students are absorbed by exercises such as a lampbrush chromosome preparation and an in vitro beating heart induction. After that, students choose their own research projects for which they will employ both classical embryological and modern molecular biological techniques. At the end of our course, the connectivity principle from field to gel blot will be part of the students' understanding.