Activity: Cell specialization in vertebrate embryos

In this activity, students learn how cell specialization takes place in vertebrate embryos. They begin by exploring a gallery of different kinds of specialized cells. They also explore how white blood cells are specialized to fight viruses. They learn about the role of master control genes in cell development. Finally, they learn about the significance of -- and controversy surrounding -- stem cell research, and then analyze the different points of view in the stem cell debate.