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Assignments

Class Synthesis Project

The goal of this project is to put together a list of the general and evolutionarily relevant principles that direct development. Specifically, we would like you to synthesize what you have learned into some general principles. You have been exposed to these principles through the lectures and readings.

Handout on Synthesis (PDF)

Weekly Paper Discussions

A small group of students (usually three, depending on class size) will be responsible for leading the discussion of papers each week. Guidelines on how to read papers (see below) and to present material will be distributed, and for 7.22 students, will be covered in recitation. Leading the discussion will involve preparing Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides of each figure in the papers, as well as any supplemental material you think useful. Leaders can organize the discussion as they wish, however this must include getting the rest of the class to participate! Everyone is expected to have read and tried to understand the papers (see below). The rest of the class should be prepared to summarize and explain the questions, hypotheses, methodology including controls, results and interpretation behind each experiment presented in the figures and tables. All students are encouraged to discuss papers prior to class, as understanding the literature is best done collaboratively.

You will each get two opportunities to lead a paper discussion and will get feedback after each session you lead. Where you receive grades for leading a discussion, you will receive a grade for the best discussion you lead (probably the last one when you have become more experienced).

Guidelines for Reading Research Papers (PDF)

Graduate Students: Final Project

A recent paper relevant to the course will be assigned to each student. A written review should follow the general format used in the oral presentations and class discussions. The review should be a maximum of 10 typed, 12-point font, double-spaced pages. The review should be clearly organized into the following sections: Begin with a summary of relevant background information and statement of the major question being addressed and hypotheses tested (1-2 pages), a discussion of the experimental approaches- explaining the question/hypothesis, methodology, results and interpretation of the data (2-4 pages), a summary of the overall conclusions, including a discussion of whether hypotheses were supported or not, and the strengths and weaknesses of the paper (1-2 pages), and a proposal of one further experiment you would like to do to address the next question (1-2 pages). A bibliography, not part of the 10 page limit, should be included.

Recent Papers for Review

Chalmers, et al. "aPKC, Crumbs3 and Lgl2 control apicobasal polarity in earlyvertebrate development." Development 132 (2005): 977-986.

Cooke, et al. "Eph signalling functions downstream of Val to regulate cell sorting andboundary formation in the caudal hindbrain." Development 128 (2001): 571-580.

Dougan, et al. "The role of the zebrafish nodal-related genes squint and cyclops in patterning of mesendoderm." Development 130 (2003): 1837-1851.