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  WINTER 2012

   Society for Developmental Biology

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WIREs Developmental Biology Launched

By John C. Gerhart, WIREs Developmental Biology, Editor-In-Chief

It is with great pleasure that we announce the launch of SDB’s latest publishing initiative, WIREs Developmental Biology, an innovative online reference resource composed of invited peer-reviewed articles, broadly covering developmental biology at all levels—from the description of developmental stages and events, to the analysis of developmental mechanisms at the molecular level. WIREs Developmental Biology offers a dynamic and integrated approach to its encyclopedic coverage of the field exposing the interconnectivity of developmental processes.

This venture grew from conversations held in the Society well over a decade ago regarding the need for an authoritative discipline-encompassing publication. It was envisioned then as print-based encyclopedia, though the limitations of such a static format were already evident. The continuing explosive growth in our field, as well as the rapid improvement of online possibilities, made it clear a few years ago that our reference resource should be an updateable and interactive electronic product. Around this time, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. began developing a novel electronic publishing model to combine the best features of encyclopedic formats with those of up-to-date research-oriented review publications, and they have recently launched Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews (WIREs). In partnership with SDB and Wiley, WIREs Developmental Biology has now launched as a state-of-the-art online reference resource for all of developmental biology, and can be viewed online at It will be accessible without restriction the first year, then accessible to all entering a site registration the second year, and thereafter accessible to SDB members, as well as to subscribers.

As Editors-in-Chief of this effort, Gail Martin, Eric Wieschaus, and I have relied on an outstanding board of Associate Editors, all esteemed contributors to research in developmental biology and all widely informed on the subject (see list below). Jointly, we have assembled a broad table of contents, a stellar author base, and an unprecedented rate of contributor acceptances of our invitations, all marks of a strong beginning. We see ahead of us the need to continue to identify important and interesting subjects and to find authors to integrate the disparate items and levels of the field. These are areas where input from developmental biologists will be of value to us.

The entries, all invited and peer-reviewed, range in scope from short focus pieces to advanced research reviews and comprehensive overviews, the last-mentioned meant to provide the reader with the broadest integration and orientation. In all, WIREs Developmental Biology will cover early embryonic development, later development through organogenesis and cytodifferentiation, the development of the nervous system, adult stem cells, tissue renewal and regeneration. It will draw on information about a wide range of animals, both invertebrate and vertebrate, from sponges to humans. Comparative development and developmental evolution are included as they relate development in different groups and illuminate ancient conserved mechanisms and reveal the evolutionary modification of mechanisms. Specific birth defects are discussed in terms of the underlying developmental impairments. For purposes of illuminating the elemental processes and molecular commonalities of development, entries are included on gene expression mechanisms and transcriptional hierarchies, on widely-used intercellular signaling pathways, and on the means of establishing spatial and temporal patterns in the embryo. Plant development and plant cell types are presented both as a separate section as well as within other sections, where applicable. Commentaries and opinion pieces will be included where interesting issues and hypotheses are in flux. Author updates and reader comments will be incorporated over time.

In order to enhance the accessibility and usefulness of all this material, WIREs Dev Bio has enabled the cross-linking of content by key words and subjects, reference linking, links to other reference sources and glossaries, and to other relevant sites, including the SDB Collaborative Resources (CoRe) site described below. This linkage will allow the reader to connect particular events of development to those occurring before and after, and elsewhere in the embryo, and to embryos of other organisms. It will connect the levels of mechanism from anatomy and morphology to cell biology, molecular genetics, and regulatory mechanisms.

We are very enthusiastic about WIREs Dev Bio and its future. We aim for this publication to measure up to the grandeur of the subject and believe that as the field grows, it has the potential to fill the research and teaching needs of developmental biologists, and also of the broader community of researchers and scholars.

In coordination with this and other SDB publications, including their official journal Developmental Biology, the Society has launched a companion website—SDB CoRe, an online community of learning for developmental biology. The site will display beautiful images, movies, animations, normal tables of developing organisms and key experimental results, as well as schematic diagrams and brief explanations of developmental biology concepts. In addition, both the WIREs and CoRe websites provide a feedback forum for comments on articles and visuals of interest. All of this is in alignment with the Society’s commitment to the dissemination of scientific information about developmental biology. The membership and the community will benefit from access to a wide variety of resources and interactive components on the Society website that, along with its affiliated publications, maximize communication and exchange of educational materials and teaching tools.

Editors in Chief:
John C. Gerhart, University of California, Berkeley
Gail R. Martin, University of California, San Francisco
Eric F. Wieschaus, Princeton University

Editorial Board:
Richard Behringer, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center- Comparative Development and Evolution
Richard Harland, University of California, Berkeley- Early Embryonic Development
Brigid Hogan, Duke University Medical Center- Vertebrate Organogenesis
Alexandra L. Joyner, Sloan-Kettering Institute- Nervous System Development
Mike Levine, University of California, Berkeley- Gene Expression and Transcriptional Hierarchies
Susan Mango, Harvard University- Invertebrate Organogenesis
Roel Nusse, Stanford University- Signaling Pathways
Norbert Perrimon, Harvard Medical School- Technologies
Scott Poethig, University of Pennsylvania- Cell Types and Issues Specific to Plants
Jonathan Slack, University of Minnesota- Establishment of Spatial and Temporal Patterns
Allan Spradling, Carnegie Institution for Science- Adult Stem Cells, Tissue Renewal, and Regeneration
Paul A. Trainor, Stowers Institute for Medical Research- Birth Defects