Developmental biologists study how an organism is constructed from a single cell into a fully functional multicellular organism. How is an organism patterned? How is cellular diversity achieved? These fundamental questions of developmental biology are answered utilizing a multitude of tools and techniques.
Model organisms are an important component of the developmental biology toolkit. A variety of plants, vertebrates, and invertebrates are used to tackle fundamental questions of development. Each organism lends itself to specific approaches—be they physical, chemical, or genetic manipulation. Advances in molecular and imaging techniques allow scientists to visualize the dynamic states of genes, proteins, cells, and tissues within live developing embryos.