The development of a multicellular organism from a single fertilized egg cell is a brilliant triumph of evolution. The Developmental Biology Group in the Department of Biological Sciences are investigating a variety of questions about development: how cells arising from division of the fertilized egg become different from each other; how they become organized into structures such as limbs and brains (see Figure below); how the organizing principles of development are embedded within the egg and in its genetic material. Members of this group use model organisms including fruit flies and mice. The sophisticated genetics available in these organisms provides a means to finding the molecules that control development and to understanding how they function. The central nervous system of this fruit fly embryo is stained with a dye to show its brain (left) and ventral nerve cord (bottom).