Theories

Title By Description Created Last modifiedsort ascending
Fruit Fly Life Cycle Amy Pribadi Fruit flies of the species Drosophila melanogaster develop from eggs to adults in eight to ten days at 25 degrees Celsius. They develop through four primary stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. When in the wild, female flies lay their fertilized eggs in rotting fruit or other decomposing material that can serve as food for the larvae. In the lab, fruit flies lay their fertilized eggs in a mixture of agar, molasses, cornmeal, and yeast. After roughly a day, each egg hatches into a larva. 2016-10-11 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
Epigenetic Landscape Adam R. Navis The epigenetic landscape is a concept representing embryonic development. It was proposed by Conrad Hal Waddington to illustrate the various developmental pathways a cell might take toward differentiation. The epigenetic landscape integrates the connected concepts of competence, induction, and regulative abilities of the genes into a single model designed to explain cellular differentiation, a long standing problem in embryology. 2007-10-30 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
"Evolution and Tinkering" (1977), by Francois Jacob Valerie Racine In his essay Evolution and Tinkering, published in Science in 1977, Francois Jacob argued that a common analogy between the process of evolution by natural selection and the methods of engineering is problematic. Instead, he proposed to describe the process of evolution with the concept of bricolage (tinkering). In this essay, Jacob did not deny the importance of the mechanism of natural selection in shaping complex adaptations. Instead, he maintained that the cumulative effects of 2014-10-24 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
Estrogen Brendan Van Iten The figure depicts three different molecular structures of estrogen found in mammals’ that differ by the arrangement of bonds and side groups. The molecular structures of the three estrogen molecules differ by the arrangement of chemical bonds and side groups attached to the core steroid structure, cholesterol, which contains three cyclohexane rings and one cyclopentane ring. 2017-05-18 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
"Testing the Kin Selection Theory: Who Controls the Investments?" from The Ants (1990), by Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson Kelle Dhein In “Testing the Kin Selection Theory: Who Controls the Investments?” Bert Hölldobler and Edward Osborne Wilson discussed the predictive power of kin selection theory, a theory about the evolution of social behaviors. As part of Hölldobler's and Wilson's 1990 book titled The Ants, Hölldobler and Wilson compared predictions about the reproductive practices of ants to data about the reproductive practices of ants. They showed that the data generally supported the expected behaviors proposed by kin selection theory. 2017-04-18 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
Mitochondria Dorothy R. Haskett All cells that have a nucleus, including plant, animal, fungal cells, and most single-celled protists, also have mitochondria. Mitochondria are particles called organelles found outside the nucleus in a cell's cytoplasm. The main function of mitochondria is to supply energy to the cell, and therefore to the organism. The theory for how mitochondria evolved, proposed by Lynn Margulis in the twentieth century, is that they were once free-living organisms. 2014-07-05 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
The Y-Chromosome in Animals Dorothy R. Haskett The Y-chromosome is one of a pair of chromosomes that determine the genetic sex of individuals in mammals, some insects, and some plants. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the development of new microscopic and molecular techniques, including DNA sequencing, enabled scientists to confirm the hypothesis that chromosomes determine the sex of developing organisms. In an adult organism, the genes on the Y-chromosome help produce the male gamete, the sperm cell. Beginning in the 1980s, many studies of human populations used the Y-chromosome gene sequences to trace paternal lineages. 2015-05-28 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
Julia Barlow Platt's Embryological Observations on Salamanders' Cartilage (1893) Karina Ramirez In 1893, Julia Barlow Platt published her research on the origins of cartilage in the developing head of the common mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus) embryo. The mudpuppy is an aquatic salamander commonly used by embryologists because its large embryonic cells and nuclei are easy to see. Platt followed the paths of cells in developing mudpuppy embryos to see how embryonic cells migrated during the formation of the head. With her research, Platt challenged then current theories about germ layers, the types of cells in an early embryo that develop into adult cells. 2017-03-06 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
Charles Darwin's Theory of Pangenesis Yawen Zou In 1868 in England, Charles Darwin proposed his pangenesis theory to describe the units of inheritance between parents and offspring and the processes by which those units control development in offspring. Darwin coined the concept of gemmules, which he said referred to hypothesized minute particles of inheritance thrown off by all cells of the body. The theory suggested that an organism's environment could modify the gemmules in any parts of the body, and that these modified gemmules would congregate in the reproductive organs of parents to be passed on to their offspring. 2014-07-20 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
The Hayflick Limit Zane Bartlett The Hayflick Limit is a concept that helps to explain the mechanisms behind cellular aging. The concept states that a normal human cell can only replicate and divide forty to sixty times before it cannot divide anymore, and will break down by programmed cell death or apoptosis. The concept of the Hayflick Limit revised Alexis Carrel's earlier theory, which stated that cells can replicate themselves infinitely. Leonard Hayflick developed the concept while at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, 2014-11-14 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
The Development of the Neural Crest and the Migration of Neural Crest Cells (NCCs) in the Embryos of Various Vertebrates Brian K. Hall, M. Elizabeth Barnes This diagram shows how NCCs migrate differently in rats, birds and amphibians. The arrows represent both chronology of NCCs migration and the differential paths that NCCs follow in different classes of animals. The solid black portion of each illustration represents the neural crest, and the large black dots in (c) and in (f) represent the neural crest cells. The speckled sections that at first form a basin in (a) and then close to form a tube in (f) represent the neural ectoderm. The solid white portions represent the epidermal ectoderm. 2014-08-21 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
Spermism Cera R. Lawrence Spermism was one of two models of preformationism, a theory of embryo generation prevalent in the late seventeenth through the end of the eighteenth century. Spermist preformationism was the belief that offspring develop from a tiny fully-formed fetus contained within the head of a sperm cell. This model developed slightly later than the opposing ovist model because sperm cells were not seen under the microscope until about 1677. 2008-08-13 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
The Discovery of The Dikika Baby Fossil as Evidence for Australopithecine Growth and Development Paige Madison When scientists discovered a 3.3 million-year-old skeleton of a child of the human lineage (hominin) in 2000, in the village of Hadar, Ethiopia, they were able to study growth and development of Australopithecus afarensis, an extinct hominin species. The team of researchers, led by Zeresenay Alemseged of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, named the fossil DIK 1-1 and nicknamed it Dikika baby after the Dikika research site. The Dikika fossil 2015-02-02 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
Chloroplasts Anna Guerrero Chloroplasts are the organelles in plant and algal cells that conduct photosynthesis. A single chloroplast has an outer membrane and an inner membrane, with an intermembrane space in between. Within the inner membrane, interconnected stacks of thylakoids, called granum, float in a protein rich fluid called the stroma. These thylakoid stacks contain chlorophyll, a pigment which converts sunlight into usable energy for plants and free oxygen from water. The stacks are sites of light reactions within a plant cell. 2017-02-06 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
Reassessment of Carrel's Immortal Tissue Culture Experiments Lijing Jiang In the 1910s, Alexis Carrel, a French surgeon and biologist, concluded that cells are intrinsically immortal. His claim was based on chick-heart tissue cultures in his laboratory that seemed to be able to proliferate forever. Carrel's ideas about cellular immortality convinced his many contemporaries that cells could be maintained indefinitely. In the 1960s, however, Carrel's thesis about cell immortality was put into question by the discovery that human diploid cells can only proliferate for a finite period. 2010-06-28 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
Beadle and Tatum's 1941 Experiments with Neurospora Revealed that Genes Produce Enzymes Amy Pribadi This illustration shows George Beadle and Edward Tatum's experiments with Neurospora crassa that indicated that single genes produce single enzymes. The pair conducted the experiments at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Enzymes are types of proteins that can catalyze reactions inside cells, reactions that produce a number of things, including nutrients that the cell needs. Neurospora crassa is a species of mold that grows on bread. 2016-10-12 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
Richard Woltereck's Concept of Reaktionsnorm B. R. Erick Peirson Richard Woltereck first described the concept of Reaktionsnorm (norm of reaction) in his 1909 paper 'Weitere experimentelle Untersuchungen uber Art-veranderung, speziell uber das Wesen quantitativer Artunterschiede bei Daphniden' ('Further investigations of type variation, specifically concerning the nature of quantitative differences between varieties of Daphnia'). This concept refers to the ways in which the environment can alter the development of an organism, and its adult characteristics. 2012-09-06 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
Neurocristopathies M. Elizabeth Barnes Neurocristopathies are a class of pathologies in vertebrates, including humans, that result from abnormal expression, migration, differentiation, or death of neural crest cells (NCCs) during embryonic development. NCCs are cells derived from the embryonic cellular structure called the neural crest. Abnormal NCCs can cause a neurocristopathy by chemically affecting the development of the non-NCC tissues around them. They can also affect the development of NCC tissues, causing defective migration or 2014-09-19 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
The Meckel-Serres Conception of Recapitulation Lindsey O'Connell Johann Friedrich Meckel and Antoine Etienne Reynaud Augustin Serres developed in the early 1800s the basic principles of what later became called the Meckel-Serres Law. Meckel and Serres both argued that fetal deformities result when development prematurely stops, and they argued that these arrests characterized lower life forms, through which higher order organisms progress during normal development. The concept that the embryos of higher order organisms progress through successive stages in which they resemble lower level forms is called recapitulation. 2013-07-10 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
Telomeres and Telomerase in Cellular Aging (Senescence) Zane Bartlett Telomeres are sequences of DNA on the ends of chromosomes that protect chromosomes from sticking to each other or tangling, which could cause irregularities in normal DNA functions. As cells replicate, telomeres shorten at the end of chromosomes, which correlates to senescence or cellular aging. Integral to this process is telomerase, which is an enzyme that repairs telomeres and is present in various cells in the human body, especially during human growth and development. 2015-02-11 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
Carnegie Stages Karen Wellner Historically the exact age of human embryo specimens has long perplexed embryologists. With the menstrual history of the mother often unknown or not exact, and the premenstrual and postmenstrual phases varying considerably among women, age sometimes came down to a best guess based on the weight and size of the embryo. Wilhelm His was one of the first to write comparative descriptions of human embryos in the late 1800s. Soon afterward, Franklin P. Mall, the first director of the Carnegie Institution of Washington's (CIW) Department of Embryology, expanded upon His' work. 2009-07-17 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
Early Infantile Autism and the Refrigerator Mother Theory (1943-1970) Sean Cohmer In 1943, child psychiatrist Leo Kanner in the US gave the first account of Early Infantile Autism that encouraged psychiatrists to investigate what they called emotionally cold mothers, or refrigerator mothers. In 1949, Kanner published Problems of Nosology and Psychodynamics of Early Infantile Autism. In that article, Kanner described autistic children as reared in emotional refrigerators. US child psychiatrists claimed that some psychological or behavioral conditions might have origins in emotional or mental stress, meaning that they might be psychogenic. 2014-08-19 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
The Process of Gastrulation in Frog Embryos Chinami Michaels Illustration of the movement of the three hemispheres of cells, the animal cap (dark green) the marginal zone (lime green) and the ventral cap (yellow) during frog gastrulation. The external view column (images a.1-a.6) shows gastrulation as it occurs on the outside of the embryo. The cross-section view column (images b.1-b.6) shows the internal view of gastrulation. The cross-sections are through the middle of the embryo. 2013-12-13 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
Edward Drinker Cope's Law of Acceleration of Growth M. Elizabeth Barnes The Law of Acceleration of Growth is a theory proposed by Edward Drinker Cope in the US during the nineteenth century. Cope developed it in an attempt to explain the evolution of genera by appealing to changes in the developmental timelines of organisms. Cope proposed this law as an additional theory to natural selection. 2014-07-24 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
The Inheritance of Acquired Characteristics (1924), by Paul Kammerer Federica Turriziani Colonna The Inheritance of Acquired Characteristics is a book published in 1924, written by Paul Kammerer, who studied developmental biology in Vienna, Austria, in the early twentieth century. The Inheritance of Acquired Characteristics summarizes Kammerer's experiments, and explains their significance. In his book, Kammerer aims to explain how offspring inherit traits from their parents. Some scholars criticized Kammerer's reports and interpretations, arguing that they were inaccurate and misleading, while others supported Kammerer's work. 2015-03-31 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
Mitochondria Anna Guerrero Mitochondria are organelles found in the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells. They are composed of an outer membrane and an inner membrane. The outer membrane faces the cellular cytoplasm, while the inner membrane folds back on itself multiple times, forming inner folds, called cristae. The space between the two membrane layers is called the intermembrane space, and the space within the inner membrane is called the matrix. 2017-02-06 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
Syncytial Theory Adam R. Navis The syncytial theory of neural development was proposed by Victor Hensen in 1864 to explain the growth and differentiation of the nervous system. This theory has since been discredited, although it held a significant following at the turn of the twentieth century. Neural development was well studied but poorly understood, so Hensen proposed a simple model of development. The syncytial theory predicted that the nervous system was composed of many neurons with shared cytoplasm. 2007-10-30 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
Trial of Madame Restell (Ann Lohman) for Abortion (1841) Rainey Horwitz In the spring of 1841, abortionist Ann Lohman, called Madame Restell, was convicted for crimes against one of her abortion clients, Maria Purdy. In a deathbed confession, Purdy admitted that she had received an abortion provided by Madame Restell, and she further claimed that the tuberculosis that she was dying from was a result of her abortion. Restell was charged with administering an illegal abortion in New York and her legal battles were heavily documented in the news. 2017-10-05 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
"On the Origin of Mitosing Cells" (1967), by Lynn Sagan Dorothy Regan Haskett On the Origin of Mitosing Cells by Lynn Sagan appeared in the March 1967 edition of the Journal of Theoretical Biology. At the time the article was published, Lynn Sagan had divorced astronomer Carl Sagan, but kept his last name. Later, she remarried and changed her name to Lynn Margulis, and will be referred to as such throughout this article. In her 1967 article, Margulis develops a theory for the origin of complex cells that have enclosed nuclei, called eukaryotic cells. 2014-04-15 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
Apoptosis in Embryonic Development Zane Bartlett Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is a mechanism in embryonic development that occurs naturally in organisms. Apoptosis is a different process from cell necrosis, which is uncontrolled cell death usually after infection or specific trauma. As cells rapidly proliferate during development, some of them undergo apoptosis, which is necessary for many stages in development, including neural development, reduction in egg cells (oocytes) at birth, as well as the shaping of fingers and vestigial organs in humans and other animals. Sydney Brenner, H. Robert Horvitz, and John E. 2017-06-08 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
Human Evolution Inferred from Tooth Growth and Development Kate MacCord To study human evolution, researchers sometimes use microstructures found in human teeth and their knowledge of the processes by which those structures grow. Human fetusus begin to develop teeth in utero. As teeth grow, they form a hard outer substance, called enamel, through a process called amelogenesis. During amelogenesis, incremental layers of enamel form in a Circadian rhythm. This rhythmic deposition leaves the enamel with microstructures, called cross-striations and striae of Retzius, which have a regular periodicity. 2013-03-28 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:59am
Estrogen and the Menstrual Cycle in Humans Brendan Van Iten Estrogen is the primary sex hormone in women and it functions during the reproductive menstrual cycle. Women have three major types of estrogen: estrone, estradiol, and estriol, which bind to and activate receptors within the body. Researchers discovered the three types of estrogen over a period of seven years, contributing to more detailed descriptions of the menstrual cycle. Each type of estrogen molecule contains a slightly different arrangement or number of atoms that in turn causes some of the estrogens to be more active than others. 2016-06-22 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:58am
ABO Blood Type Identification and Forensic Science (1900-1960) Corey Harbison The use of blood in forensic analysis is a method for identifying individuals suspected of committing some kinds of crimes. Paul Uhlenhuth and Karl Landsteiner, two scientists working separately in Germany in the early twentieth century, showed that there are differences in blood between individuals. Uhlenhuth developed a technique to identify the existence of antibodies, and Landsteiner and his students showed that humans had distinctly different blood types called A, B, AB, and O. 2016-06-02 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:58am
Interspecies SCNT-derived Humanesque Blastocysts Sarah Taddeo, Jason S. Robert, Nicole Diehnelt Since the 1950s, scientists have developed interspecies blastocysts in laboratory settings, but not until the 1990s did proposals emerge to engineer interspecies blastocysts that contained human genetic or cellular material. Even if these embryos were not permitted to mature to fetal stages, their ethical and political status became debated within nations attempting to use them for research. 2017-06-23 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:58am
The Formation of Reticular Theory Isra Mishqat In the nineteenth century, reticular theory aimed to describe the properties of neurons, the specialized cells which make up the nervous system, but was later disconfirmed by evidence. Reticular theory stated that the nervous system was composed of a continuous network of specialized cells without gaps (synapses), and was first proposed by researcher Joseph von Gerlach in Germany in 1871. 2017-06-19 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:58am
The Hedgehog Signaling Pathway in Vertebrates  Dorothy Regan Haskett The hedgehog signaling pathway is a mechanism that regulates cell growth and differentiation during embryonic development, called embryogenesis, in animals. The hedgehog signaling pathway works both between cells and within individual cells. 2016-06-27 4 Jul 2018 - 4:40:58am

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