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  • Publications are formally published results, and the articles here outline the major contributions of those works.
  • Technologies include microscopes, of course, and other technical tools that help the scientific process.
  • Processes tell about the way the science was done, such as what procedures a scientist used.
  • Theories lay out the ideas that often guide scientific investigation.
  • Experiments allow researchers to control the conditions and manipulate variables to see more than would be possible under normal conditions.
  • Organisms make a difference to what kind of research can be done, with different kinds of organisms appropriate for different kinds of research.

People and Places

  • Organizations include organized laboratories like the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts or the Naples Zoological Station. Such labs provide special opportunities for doing science in new ways. Other organizations include professional societies such as the Society for Developmental Biology, or journals such as Developmental Biology or the Journal of Experimental Zoology.
  • People do the work of science and discovery. The Encyclopedia includes biographies that give an overview of the person’s contributions and life. We also have a large number of photographs, especially from particular time periods. Exhibits such as the Women in Biology collection show clusters of people.
  • Places tell us about the location, since all work is done by particular people at a particular time and in a particular place. This might be Woods Hole or Chicago or anywhere.


  • Reproduction
  • Disorders includes articles on diseases, disorders, and syndromes that arise because of abnormal development. Once researchers sort out what is normal, they can engage in study of what is pathological or abnormal. 

Science and Society

  • Outreach takes scientific ideas and their social interpretations to the broader public, outside the scientific community. The Encyclopedia includes articles about films and images that have had an impact within the larger public.
  • Legal decisions shape how embryos are treated. The Encyclopedia includes articles on individual legal cases relating to embryos, showing that typically embryos are treated as property with contractual agreements about their use. We also offer articles that interpret the meaning and impacts of the cases individually and collectively.
  • Ethics has become part of science, as scientists and the public think about what is ethical. The Encyclopedia welcomes articles on thinking from what is often called bioethics or might be better called bioscience ethics, considering ethical issues and positions related to embryos and development at all stages.
  • Religion also impacts our understanding of embryos. The Encyclopedia includes articles about the views from different religions, including what embryos are thought to be and whether the religion raises particular issues about embryos and how we treat them.