The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 65: 71 - 76 (2021)

Vol 65, Issue 1-2-3

Special Issue: Developmental Biology in Ibero-America - Part 1

Building the embryo of Developmental Biology in Uruguay

Published: 25 August 2020

Flavio R. Zolessi1,2, Nibia Berois1, M. Mónica Brauer3 and Estela Castillo4

1Sección Biología Celular, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la República, 2Institut Pasteur de Montevideo, 3Laboratorio de Biología Celular, Departamento de Neurofarmacología Experimental, Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas Clemente Estable and 4Sección Bioquímica, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la República, Uruguay


In Uruguay, a country with a small population, and hence a small scientific community, there were no classical embryologists as such in the past. However, in the decade of the 1950s, a cumulus of favorable conditions gave rise to highly active and modern research groups in the fields of cytology and physiology, which eventually contributed to developmental biology. The advent of a long dictatorship between the 1970’s and 1980’s caused two things: a strong lag in local research and the migration of young investigators who learned abroad new disciplines and technologies. The coming back to democracy allowed for the return of some, now as solid researchers, and together with those who stayed, built a previously inexistent postgraduate training program and a globally-integrated academy that fostered diversity of research disciplines, including developmental biology. In this paper, we highlight the key contributions of pioneer researchers and the significant role played by academic and funding national institutions in the growth and consolidation of developmental biology in our country.


history of science, cytology, development, scientific collaboration

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