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Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology

The Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology (GDB) supports studies directed toward gaining a better understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie inheritance, gene expression and development. The results of these studies form the foundation for advances in diagnosing, preventing, treating and curing a wide variety of diseases. Most of the projects supported by the division make use of model organisms, which speed advances in understanding human biological processes.

The division has two components: the Genetic Mechanisms Branch and the Developmental and Cellular Processes Branch.

Research areas NIGMS supports within this division and contact names are listed on the Contacts by Research Area page. For a list of all GDB staff and links to their biographical sketches, see the Division Staff Contacts page.

Genetic Mechanisms Branch

This branch focuses on DNA and on the flow of information from genetic material (DNA or RNA) to protein. The branch supports studies on the mechanisms and regulation of basic cellular processes including DNA and RNA replication, DNA recombination and repair, transcription and function of coding and noncoding RNA, RNA processing, and protein synthesis. Studies that investigate interactions among these processes are also supported. Consistent with its focus on DNA, the branch supports studies of population genetics, evolution and the genetic basis of human biology. The emphasis is on the general principles governing these processes rather than on the expression of specific genes in relation to organismal phenotypes or disease.

Developmental and Cellular Processes Branch

This branch focuses on the genetic and biochemical pathways that cells utilize in development and in normal physiological processes. The research supported by the branch spans the spectrum from the genetic basis of development and cell function to biochemical signaling pathways that underlie normal cell physiology. The branch supports studies of cell cycle control; mechanisms of cell death; regulation of cell growth, differentiation and homeostasis; adaptive responses to stress and nutrients; stem cell biology; microbial symbiotic relationships and community ecology; developmental genetics; neurogenetics and the genetics of behavior; and chromosome structure and epigenetic regulation of gene expression.

Along with its research and research training activities, the division supports the NIGMS Human Genetic Cell Repository, which maintains and distributes cell lines and DNA samples--from people with and without genetic disorders--to research scientists.

For more information about the NIGMS Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology, contact:

Dr. Dorit Zuk
Director, Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
National Institutes of Health
45 Center Drive MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200

This page last reviewed on August 22, 2016