Skip to Content

DB3503: THE EARLY EMBRYO (2017-2018)

Last modified: 25 May 2018 11:16

Course Overview

  • this course takes us back to the very beginning of embryonic development and explores the fascinating process of how the fertilised egg develops into the complex multicellular embryo;
  • we will explore the embryology of axis induction and germ layer formation and the cellular processes driving morphogenesis;
  • we will illustrate fundamental molecular mechanisms that regulate early embryonic development; and how many of the same mechanisms are now found to regulate also organ development and stem cells during regeneration;
  • we will also discuss which scientific experiments gave us this knowledge and what tools and methods are used to study early embryos

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Professor Stefan Hoppler

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Either Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • AN3301 Human Embryonic Development (Studied)
  • DB3006 Principles of Developmental and Reproductive Biology (Studied)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • DB3801 Patterning the Embryo (Studied)
  • DB3803 Patterning the Embryo (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course covers the following topics. Fertilisation: the making of a new organism, Drosophila: The Making of a Fly (Nisslein-Vollhard/Wieschaus screen and beyond), C. elegans: The Making of the Worm, Breaking the Symmetry: Axis Formation in Amphibians and other Vertebrates, Morphogenetic Movements and Cell Migration.

Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed

  • BSc Biomedical Sciences (Develop'l Biol)
  • BSc Human Embryology & Dev'l Biology
  • Bsc In Biomedical Sciences (Dev Biology & Biobusiness)
  • Bsc In Human Embryology & Developmental Biology (Biobusiness
  • MSci in Biomedical Sci (Developm'l Biology) with Ind Placm't
  • MSci in Human Embryology & Developmental Bio with Ind Plac't
  • Msci In Biomedical Sciences (Develo Biolo & Bio Bus) With Ip

Contact Teaching Time

61 hours

This is the total time spent in lectures, tutorials and other class teaching.

Teaching Breakdown


1st Attempt

  • One 90-minute essay examination (70%)
  • One practical report (based on course practical classes) with essay (introduction and discussion) (30%)


  • One 90-minute essay examination (70%)
  • Previous continuous assessment (30%)

Formative Assessment

  • Case-study exercise with feedback in preparation for summative assessments
  • Practice exam questions on MyAberdeen
  • Problem-solving sessions


  • Practical reports and essays will be marked with written comments
  • Problem solving questions will be discussed during practical
  • Tutorial sessions will provide feedback on course content
  • Feedback on problem-based learning exercise during practical

Compatibility Mode

We have detected that you are have compatibility mode enabled or are using an old version of Internet Explorer. You either need to switch off compatibility mode for this site or upgrade your browser.