Slack, J. M. W., Essential Developmental Biology, Malden: Blackwell, 2001

Slack, J. M. W., Essential Developmental Biology, Malden: Blackwell, 2001 Russian Journal of Developmental Biology, Vol. 36, No. 6, 2005, p. 389. Translated from Ontogenez, Vol. 36, No. 6, 2005, pp. 463–464. Original Russian Text Copyright © 2005 by Desnitskiy. BOOK REVIEWS Slack, J. M. W., Essential Developmental Biology, Malden: Blackwell, 2001 The reviewed textbook was written by the well- contain detailed information on embryology of these known British embryologist Jonathan Slack, head of model species, are called, correspondingly: “Xenopus,” the Department of Biology and Biochemistry at the “The Zebrafish,” “The Chicken,” “The Mouse,” University of Bath (UK) on the basis of the course of “Drosophila,” and “Caenorhabditis elegans.” It is a lectures for students. The textbook consists of three pity that only six, rather than seven, excellent embryo- sections and a total of 20 chapters. All chapters are pro- logical essays are presented, since the author did not vided with lists of references for further independent include in this list sea urchins, one of the classical spe- reading, mostly recent reviews published in the leading cies for developmental biology studies, although one international journals. The book is very well illustrated cannot work with this species in the laboratory the by original black-white figures accessible at the site: whole year round. Since Slack attaches great importance to the evolu- Section 1 (“Groundwork”) is opened by the chapter tion of developmental mechanisms, it would be advis- “The Excitement of Developmental Biology,” in which able to attract the attention of readers to the fact that in the place of developmental biology is specified in the the contemporary evolutionary embryology it is very contemporary biology, relations of developmental biol- advantageous to use not only model species, but also ogy with other biological disciplines are described, and the embryos of related “nonmodel” species. For exam- its significance for medicine and agriculture is outlined. ple, in the case of anuran amphibians, there are species, The following chapters are: “General Problems of whose early development differs markedly from that in Development,” “Key Molecular Components” (here the Xenopus laevis, such as Eleutherodactylus coqui, Gas- genes, signal systems, cytoskeleton, and cell adhesion trotheca riobambae, and some other frogs (for reviews molecules are discussed), “Common Features of Devel- see Elinson et al., 1990; Callery et al., 2001; del Pino opment,” “Developmental Genetics,” Experimental and Elinson, 2003). Embryology,” and “Techniques for the Study of Devel- Section 3 “Organogenesis and Regeneration” opment.” In this section, the author pays considerable includes the chapters “Tissues,” “Development of the attention not only to the molecular, genetic, and cellular Nervous System,” “Development of Mesodermal aspects of development, but also to the evolutionary Organs,” Drosophila Imaginal discs” “Stem Cells and ones and stresses that for evolutionary developmental Tissue Growth,” and “Regeneration of Missing Sec- biology, relationships with paleontology, molecular tions.” This section deals predominantly with develop- phylogeny, and taxonomy are essential. mental biology of vertebrates, except the imaginal discs However, it is surprising why the author refers to in Drosophila and regeneration in planarians. vertebrates as a class (p. 41). It is well known that Ver- This textbook has already been republished twice, in tebrata have the rank of subtype and include several 2002 and 2003, apparently without any modifications classes: Cyclostomata, Chondrostei, Teleostei, and corrections, which suggests that it is much in Amphibia, Reptilia, Aves, and Mammalia. demand. While reading this textbook student will get Section 2 “Major Model Organisms” is opened by a familiarized with the main principles of contemporary very interesting chapter “Model Organisms,” which developmental biology of multicellular animals, which describes in detail the advantages and disadvantages of are given by the author concisely, but very distinctly. six model species for developmental biology chosen by The textbook will also be useful for instructors in the author, the work with which in the laboratory is pos- embryology and all those who are interested in the sible during any season. The following reasons are problems of ontogenesis in Metazoa. taken into account: accessibility and cost of embryos, possibilities of micromanipulations, availability of genetic information, etc. The following chapters, which A.G. Desnitskiy 1062-3604/05/3606-0389 © 2005 Pleiades Publishing, Inc. Russian Journal of Developmental Biology Springer Journals

Slack, J. M. W., Essential Developmental Biology, Malden: Blackwell, 2001

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Copyright © 2005 by MAIK "Nauka/Interperiodica"
Life Sciences; Developmental Biology; Animal Anatomy / Morphology / Histology
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