The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 49: 72 - 78 (2005)

Vol 49, Issue 2-3

Special Issue: The Nogent Institute

Tribute, Forward and Preface

Open Access | Published: 1 May 2005

Françoise Dieterlen

Nogent sur Marne, April 2005


Since 1989, The International Journal of Developmental Biology has been publishing Special Issues which include unique historical perspectives about the development of a multitude of fields of Developmental Biology. Several of these have reported advances brought about by the main international 'Schools' in the field first known as Embryology. Others dealt with significant chapters of the discipline, and the scientists who developed them; a recent example of this is the particularly memorable Special Issue on The Spemann-Mangold Organizer*. Others were devoted to Laboratories considered to have made important contributions to advances in the discipline.

It is a special honor for a Laboratory to be selected for such an opportunity, and a great pleasure for somebody who has taken part in the adventure to be invited as a Guest Editor. Many of the contributors to this Special Issue have worked in the Nogent Institute as long-time members, post-doctoral scientists or PhD students; others have been associates in scientific endeavors. The majority of the colleagues I invited to contribute to this Special Issue responded with enthusiasm. I thank them for showing their attachment to Nogent in this way and for acknowledging the role the Institute played in their scientific life.

Each contributor was allowed to choose the format (s)he wished, namely, either a review of their topic, or a ground-breaking original contribution. To my mind, two aspects are covered as a result; firstly the various questions which have been explored over the 50 years of the Institute's existence are analyzed; secondly the outstanding participation of former Nogent associates in novel conceptual and technological trends is highlighted. This is a tribute to the charismatic figures who inspired the research and provided the means to work; Etienne Wolff who gave the chick embryo its claim to fame, and Nicole Le Douarin who, by 'inventing' the quail-chick model, permitted the exploration of new chapters in Developmental Biology, as testified by the present Special Issue and by the model's adoption in laboratories the world over.

I know that the scientists and the technical staff who have patiently participated in this venture, consider this Special Issue to be a gratifying reward for their dedication. We are all indebted to Francis Beaujean, Michel Fromaget and Sophie Gournet for photographic work and computer treatment and to Michèle Scaglia for expert assistance in preparing the Nogent manuscripts and correcting the final proofs. Last but not least, we would like to express our thankful appreciation to Prof. Juan Aréchaga for having given us this wonderful opportunity and to the Int. J. Dev. Biol. Editorial Team for having carefully integrated our contributions into this most memorable Special Issue.

Full text in web format is not available for this article. Please download the PDF version.