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Principles of Development

Sixth Edition

Lewis Wolpert, Cheryll Tickle, and Alfonso Martinez Arias

Publication Date - 04 June 2019

ISBN: 9780198800569

768 pages
10.6 x 8.1 inches

In Stock


How does a single cell develop into myriad different specialised cell types, control the organization of these different cells into tissues and organs, and ultimately form an unimaginably complex living organism such as a human? Furthermore, how is it possible for some adult animals, but not others, to regenerate fully functioning limbs?

Principles of Development opens up the fascinating field of developmental biology to those wanting to understand the answers to questions such as these. Cutting edge science is explained clearly and succinctly and is richly illustrated with a variety of custom drawn figures, animations, and links to online movies that show development happening in real time.

The emphasis throughout the text is always on the key principles of development - the underlying processes shared by diverse groups of organisms. This focus on principles provides a framework on which a richer understanding of specific topics can be built. Moreover, extensive pedagogical support is provided, both in the book and online, making this text the complete package for those studying developmental biology.

Online Resources

For students:
-Test your understanding with multiple choice questions and answer guidance to long-answer questions from the book
-Gain a three dimensional perspective of development by watching the movies of developing model organisms
-View the signalling pathway animations to see these complex processes broken down step by step
-Expand your knowledge and guide your studies with the suggested web activities
- Examine and interpret raw data obtained by Cheryll Tickle and members of her laboratory and presented in silico

For registered adopters of the text:
-Download the figures from the book to use in lectures and hand-outs
-Help your students delve into the research literature with the Journal Club
-Download the test bank or import it into your VLE
-PowerPoint of In silico practicals to use in class

New to this Edition

  • Significantly enhanced organisation sees the text sorted via processes, reinforcing key concepts.
  • Restructured sections on the Drosophila body plan ensure major concepts and principles are explained with the right amount and level of supporting experimental evidence, rather than overwhelming the reader.
  • Extended coverage of new experiments on morphogenesis and differentiation, as well as new techniques such as CRISPR.
  • Greatly expanded plant examples include references on evolution and development and sections on vernalization.


  • Emphasis throughout on the underlying principles - the commonalities between different organisms and their development - enables students to get a clear sense of the 'big picture' of the subject.
  • Key points at the beginning and end of every chapter, with concise summaries at the end of every section, reinforce the essential concepts that students should understand.
  • Custom-drawn artwork makes the visualisation of processes and mechanisms in this challenging subject as straightforward as possible.
  • Opportunities for problem solving are presented throughout the text and website, including short and long answer questions at the end of each chapter, interactive online MCQs, and online 'Journal Clubs'.
  • Medical boxes explore key developmental diseases and place the subject in the context of human health and disease.
  • Further experimental detail, including Experimental boxes, discuss both classic and current experimental research, demonstrating 'how we know what we know'.

About the Author(s)

Lewis Wolpert is Emeritus Professor of Biology as Applied to Medicine, in the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, University College London, London, UK. He is the author of The Triumph of the Embryo, A Passion for Science, The Unnatural Nature of Science, and Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Cheryll Tickle is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath, Bath, UK

Alfonso Martinez Arias is Professor of Developmental Mechanics at the University of Cambridge, UK

Table of Contents

    1. History and basic concepts
    2. Drosophila life cycle and development of the body plan
    3. Vertebrate life cycles, experimental techniques & human development
    4. Laying down the vertebrate body plan: Xenopus and zebrafish
    5. Laying down and completing the vertebrate body plan: chick and mouse
    6. Development of nematodes and sea urchins
    7. Morphogenesis: change in form in the early embryo
    8. Cell differentiation & stem cells
    9. Germ cells, fertilization & sex
    10. Organogenesis
    11. Development of the nervous system
    12. Growth, post-embryonic development and regeneration
    13. Plant life cycle and development
    14. Evolution and development

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