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Principles of Development [Hardcover]

Lewis Wolpert , Cheryll Tickle
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 1, 2010 0199554285 978-0199554287 4
The process of biological development is an amazing feat of tightly regulated cellular behaviors--differentiation, movement, and growth--powerful enough to result in the emergence of a highly complex living organism from a single cell, the fertilized egg. Now in a new edition, Principles of Development clearly illustrates the universal principles that govern this process of development.

Developmental biology has grown enormously as a discipline in recent years. Designed for undergraduates, this text focuses on key principles and concepts rather than attempting to offer an encyclopedic treatment of the field. It equips students with a conceptual framework that will be invaluable to them throughout their educational careers.

Written by two highly respected and influential developmental biologists, Lewis Wolpert and Cheryll Tickle, Principles of Development, Fourth Edition, combines a careful exposition of the subject with insights from several of the world's pioneering researchers. It guides students from the fundamentals to the latest discoveries in the field.


Focuses on the underlying principles, thereby addressing one of the biggest challenges facing instructors and students of developmental biology; covering and learning in one semester the vast amount of information encapsulated by the field.

Offers the right balance of breadth and depth:
Addresses all key topics in the field in a uniformly authoritative way, but at a depth that makes it possible to deliver a coherent, well-balanced course in one semester. Rather that attempting to offer exhaustive coverage, it sets out to ensure that, at the end of the course, students have a well-rounded, sound understanding on which to base further studies.

Integrates vivid illustrations that have been carefully designed and chosen to illuminate both experiments and mechanisms, clarifying basic principles in a visual manner.

Provides focused examples, concentrated on vertebrates and Drosophila, but not to the exclusion of other organisms, such as the nematode and the sea urchin, where they best illustrate a concept.

Covers plant development--which is frequently neglected in general textbooks on developmental biology--addressing striking recent advances in the understanding of the subject.

Includes carefully selected suggestions for further reading and an extensive glossary of key terms

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Editorial Reviews


"This new edition is a significant and positive step in presenting a complex field of study to undergraduate students."--Craig M. Scott, Clarion University

"I like the boxes in each chapter. Experimental technique boxes work well when the reader just wants to look up a technique. Boxes are also a good way to highlight concepts, or to go into detail on subjects that may or may not be covered in lectures."--Deborah Garrity, Colorado State University

"Very clear writing style that the students will appreciate, and very clear figures."--Margaret Saha, College of William and Mary

About the Author

Lewis Wolpert is Emeritus Professor of Biology at University College London. Cheryll Tickle is Foulerton Royal Society Professor at the University of Bath.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 4 edition (December 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199554285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199554287
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 8.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #314,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By Schmoo
I used Wolpert's text for an undergrad developmental course. Given that the test assumes previous coursework in genetics/biochemistry, the content of the book could've been more in depth, especially in the chapters on vertebrates. Sometimes extra detail makes the big picture easier to understand; this book leaves a little too much to mystery and results in a confused reader. The glossary and index leave much to be desired. On a more positive note, the illustrations and photographs are as good as you'll find in any textbook. However, I suggest Gilbert's text.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars CAUTION: not a good intro to development September 22, 2003
I am currently using this text for my 300 level developmental biology class. You know the saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words", well, this book is a thousand words without the pictures. It is very cumbersome to read. You know there is a problem when a book makes more sense when read in reverse. I am being very serious. FOr example, the author will be overly vague in introducing a topic, but still use specific terms without any prior introdution. Vital details necessary to understanding the text are given when needed. Throughout, terms are used before definitions are given, which makes the reader go nuts trying to figure out the meanings of more than half of the sentences.
Seriously, i do not understand the "excellent" reviews that others have given it.
I think it may be true that this book is VERY Comprehensive, but as far as clarity, theres none for students trying to understand the basics and a little more. If you are a professor, and know the material, then this book is probably a pleasure to read.
If you are like me, and just want to have a thorough understanding of the basics of developement, it would be in your best interest to look elsewhere.
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17 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Textbook January 24, 2000
Wolpert's developmental biology textbook is evidently an excellent text in its field. The authors are all well recognized in thier research areas. The organization of the text is also very well written. The summary of the concept presented at the end of each chapter is helpful. The figures presented througout the text are clear and the language used to explain them is simple but very understandable. Compared with the well-known Gilbert's text, this text may be less in dept but you can get the concept from this book for only half of the time reading Gilbert's. It is a nice book to have both for the new beginner in the field and for just a quick reference.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good material, poor organization March 6, 2010
By Jenny
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book switches back and forth between model organisms too much; it would be better if there were a chapter on each of the 4 major model organisms and subsections about each stage of development.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars dreadful to read August 16, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm using this book for a development class at UC Irvine and it is truly dreadful to read. I'm a straight A student and I'm really struggling to find any meaning in this book. The information is all there but it's jumbled up and seemingly contradictory to the point that it's almost useless. I gave up reading the book... I'm just using the lecture slides. Don't waste your money... the book won't help you for your class.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Makes life that much easier February 4, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This textbook is very well written, and it provides excellent displays to explain confusing concepts. The fact that it is also on the Kindle as an ebook makes having this textbook even better. It's very easy to throw my Kindle in my backpack, and take it out to read the textbook if I have extra time before class or what not. Don't be discouraged by the long chapters. The author has provided summaries of certain sections within the book which make great stopping points between chapters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good book February 14, 2013
By Nikky
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very well written. Its actually interesting to read!
I am a bio major and i have to read a lot of these type of textbooks, this one is surely among the least boring and most to the point
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book. January 21, 2013
By Sam
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I recommend this book for those who are seeking an easy yet deep understanding of the developmental biology. The author is a good writer.
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