Developmental Biology Lab

Posted on February 18th, 2009 by

Last week Thursday I took part in my first Developmental Biology lab.  The lab period was 3 hours long, which gave my class plenty of time to perform some pretty neat experiments.

Along with two other partners, I explored Sea Urchin fertilization.  Sea Urchins are fine organisms to study because they practice external fertilization.  Additionally, females can produce millions of eggs, while males can produce billions of sperm cells, meaning there is plenty of genetic material to experiment with.

During lab, my group specifically looked at the size and shape of sperm/egg cells, the effects of different ion concentrations on fertilization, and the effect of polyspermy (where multiple sperm fertilize one egg).

It became quite apparent that for sea urchins, conditions must be near perfect for fertilization to be effective.  Most of the changes we induced to the sperm and egg resulted in an unsuccessful fertilization.

I thought the first lab was informative and interesting.  It was fun to apply the techniques we have been learning about in lecture.  I look forward to more experiments that highlight the complexities of development and growth.


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