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Title: Craniofacial development : chemical tools and molecular biology
Author: Bolger, Triona
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2012
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In this project I have used Xenopus laevis to address the spatial and temporal requirements for various signaling pathways in organogenesis, specifically craniofacial development. Craniofacial structures of Xenopus, such as the cartilages, are analogous to those in other vertebrates. A significant portion of the vertebrate head is derived from the neural crest. Thus, this is also a study of neural crest development. The vertebrate head can be defined by the presence of a number of specialised features including a segmented brain, complex sensory organs and others such as skull bones, teeth and facial muscles. This developmental biology project strives to understand how various signaling pathways regulate the development of this complex, multicellular, three-dimensional region. Moreover, I am interested in how the neural crest can contribute to these wide-ranging structures. The unique features of the head help set vertebrates apart from cephalochordates, their closest non-vertebrate relatives (Stone and Hall, 2004) (Wada, 2001). One such close relative is Amphioxus, which has a notochord and a neural tube, but does not possess a complex brain or any complex facial structures. Crucially, it lacks the neural crest cells that comprise the head structures of vertebrates. In cephalochordate and urochordate embryos the cells in the border between the neural plate and the epidermis express several key genes required for vertebrate crest development (Snail, Msx, Bmp2, Pax3) (Meulemans and Bronner-Fraser, 2007; Yu et al., 2008). Unlike vertebrate crest, these cells are not migratory and do not have the same pluripotency of vertebrate neural crest cells (Holland and Holland, 2001). As such, the innovation of migratory neural crest cells is integral to the development of the head.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available