Applications of developmental biology to medicine and animal agriculture

Rosamund C. Smith, Simon J. Rhodes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Scopus citations


With the complete sequence of the human genome expected by winter 2001, genomic-based drug discovery efforts of the pharmaceutical industry are focusing on finding the relatively few therapeutically useful genes from among the total gene set. Methods to rapidly elucidate gene function will have increasing value in these investigations. The use of model organisms in functional genomics has begun to be recognized and exploited and is one example of the emerging use of the tools of developmental biology in recent drug discovery efforts. The use of protein products expressed during embryogenesis and the use of certain pluripotent cell populations (stem cells) as candidate therapeutics are other applications of developmental biology to the treatment of human diseases. These agents may be used to repair damaged or diseased tissues by inducing or directing developmental programs that recapitulate embryonic processes to replace specialized cells. The activation or silencing of embryonic genes in the disease state, particularly those encoding transcription factors, is another avenue of exploitation. Finally, the direct drug-induced manipulation of embryonic development is a unique application of developmental biology in animal agriculture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-256
Number of pages44
JournalProgress in Drug Research
StatePublished - Jun 5 2000


  • Developmental biology
  • Drug discovery
  • Embryonic proteins
  • Functional genomics
  • Model organisms
  • Stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Molecular Medicine

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