Colgate University

First-Year Course Offerings — Fall 2022

CORE 124S   Cells and Human Development
RestrictionsNo 2024 2023
Core AreaScientific Perspectives

The fusion of sperm and egg cells to form a single-celled zygote is the initial step in development in most multi-cellular organisms. In humans, repeated divisions of this single fertilized egg are responsible for the production of more than 70 trillion cells of greater than 200 different types. In this course students examine how a fertilized egg undergoes division, how the stem cells produced by these divisions become "determined" to form cells of particular types, and how these determined cells finally differentiate into the highly specialized cells that make up most tissues and organs. As this process is examined, students also explore the relationship between cells and developmental patterns, and investigate how genetic and environmental factors can influence (and alter) cell fate. Biological, social, and ethical aspects of the human manipulation of development are also considered, including examination of such topics as cloning by nuclear transfer, reproductive technology, fetal surgery, stem cells, and embryonic gene therapy.