From Embryology

Lab Attendance

Lab 1 --Z3372817 (talk) 12:45, 6 August 2014 (EST)

Lab 2 --Z3372817 (talk) 11:10, 13 August 2014 (EST)

Lab 3 --Z3372817 (talk) 11:13, 20 August 2014 (EST)

Lab 4 -- Absent

Lab 5 --Z3372817 (talk) 11:53, 3 September 2014 (EST)

Lab 6 --Z3372817 (talk) 11:01, 10 September 2014 (EST)

Lab 7 -- Absent

Lab 8 --Z3372817 (talk) 11:05, 24 September 2014 (EST)

Lab 9 --Z3372817 (talk) 11:28, 8 October 2014 (EST)

Lab 10 --Z3372817 (talk) 11:11, 15 October 2014 (EST)

Lab 11 --Z3372817 (talk) 12:13, 22 October 2014 (EST)

Lab 12 --Z3372817 (talk) 11:06, 29 October 2014 (EST)



Lab Assessment 1

Research Article 1

Jia Guo, Dong Li, Cheng Liu, Xiaolan Ji, Rong Li, Xiaoguo Du Effects of Chinese herbs combined with in vitro fertilization and embryo transplantation on infertility: a clinical randomized controlled trial. J Tradit Chin Med: 2014, 34(3);267-73 PubMed 24992752

This article tests the effect of traditional Chinese herbs on infertile women. The method employed was to conduct tests on 433 infertile women below the age of 42 and dividing the groups into test subjects, those who will be administered Chinese herbs, against the control. The groups were made up of 216 people and 217 in the respective groups. All subjects were given 1 out of 4 options of ultra-ovulation-promoting therapy to assist in the in-vitro fertilisation.

The main categories of measurement and the subsequent findings were:

Category Result
Endometrium thickness Higher than control
Number of acquired eggs No difference with control
Rates of normal fertility Higher than control
High quality embryos Higher than control
Biochemical and clinical pregnancy rate of subjects Higher than control

The findings showed an overall improved quality of fertility in these otherwise infertile women of the intervention group. The embryos also exhibited increased quality. This finding then suggested an improved success rate of IVF-embryo transplantation cycles and increased outcomes and safety of assisted reproductive technology.

Research Article 2

Esti Kasterstein, Deborah Strassburger, Daphna Komarovsky, Orna Bern, Alisa Komsky, Arieh Raziel, Shevach Friedler, Raphael Ron-El The effect of two distinct levels of oxygen concentration on embryo development in a sibling oocyte study. J. Assist. Reprod. Genet.: 2013, 30(8);1073-9 PubMed 23835722

The effect of two different oxygen levels on embryo development was tested. The female gametes (oocyte) of 258 women were divided in a randomised study into 2 different groups; incubator of 5% oxygen concentration versus an incubator of 20% oxygen concentration. The purpose of the incubator is to ensure oxygen concentration is constant throughout the course of the experiment.

The matters of interest along with the clinical outcomes are as follows:

Category Result
Fertilisation Same between groups
Cleavage Same between groups
Embryo quality Higher in 5% conc. group

(more blastomeres, more cycles of favourable embryos)

Blastocyst formation Higher in 5% conc. group
Implantation Higher in 5% conc. group
Pregnancy Higher in 5% conc. group
Live birth rates Higher in 5% conc. group

The findings showed higher, greater quality embryos were seen in test subjects of the 5% oxygen concentration group. Smaller oxygen levels in incubation during embryo development was more favourable.

--Mark Hill Very good. (5/5)

Lab Assessment 2

Immunolocalisation of GAD and GABA receptors in fetal lung tissue sections in mice.png

IHC image of mice fetal lung tissue showing the role of GAD and GABA in respiratory fetal development


Chintagari NR, Jin N, Gao L, Wang Y, Xi D, et al. (2010) Role of GABA Receptors in Fetal Lung Development in Rats. PLoS ONE 5(11): e14171. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014171 | PLoS One: Role of GABA Receptors in Fetal Lung Development in Rats

© 2010 Chintagari et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

--Mark Hill This is the correct reference link shown below. you do not need to include the student image template here (I have deleted), only with the uploaded file information. (4/5)

Narendranath Reddy Chintagari, Nili Jin, Li Gao, Yang Wang, Dong Xi, Lin Liu Role of GABA receptors in fetal lung development in rats. PLoS ONE: 2010, 5(11);e14171 PubMed 21152393

Lab Assessment 3

1. S Halewyck, S Louryan, P Van Der Veken, F Gordts Craniofacial embryology and postnatal development of relevant parts of the upper respiratory system. B-ENT: 2012, 8 Suppl 19;5-11 PubMed 23431607

Comparison between historical and current literature in regards to the development of the respiratory system

2. Developmental Biology, 6th edition By Scott F Gilbert. Swarthmore College Sunderland (MA): Sinauer Associates; 2000. ISBN-10: 0-87893-243-7

Links: | Developmental Biology

Comparative embryology with detail on historical understandings of early respiratory development observed in various species. Accessible through PubMed.

3. Human Embryology and Morphology, 1902 By Arthur Keith London: Edward Arnold.

Links: | Human Embryology and Morphology

Historical images of past understandings on respiratory development

4. YouTube Video explaining early respiratory development

--Mark Hill I would have liked to have seen references initially not from textbooks or the current website, but from the research literature. (4/5)

Lab Assessment 4

Paper on cord stem cells

Yong-Tao Lv, Yun Zhang, Min Liu, Jia-na-ti Qiuwaxi, Paul Ashwood, Sungho Charles Cho, Ying Huan, Ru-Cun Ge, Xing-Wang Chen, Zhao-Jing Wang, Byung-Jo Kim, Xiang Hu Transplantation of human cord blood mononuclear cells and umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells in autism. J Transl Med: 2013, 11;196 PubMed 23978163

The neurodevelopmental disorder of autism is poorly understood and therapy is currently dependent on the study of behaviour of the individuals in which the disorder manifests itself in. The utilisation of stem cells in treatment of autism is innovative, which this study outlines. The focus of the investigation is concerned with the combined transplantation of human cord blood mononuclear cells (CBMNCs) and umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells (UCMSCs) in treating children with autism.

The study does this through non-randomized, open-label, single center phase I/II trial investigations of 37 subjects diagnosed with autism. These subjects were then divided into three groups:

- Group 1 (14 subjects): received CBMNC transplantation and rehabilitation therapy

- Group 2 (9 subjects): received transplantation of both CBMNC and UCMSC as well as rehabilitation therapy

- Group 3 (14 subjects): received only rehabilitation therapy

Group 3 was used as the control for the trial.

Transplantations were performed by 4 separate stem cell infusion injections once a week. The Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS), Clinical Global Impression (CGI) scale and Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC) were used to comparatively assess between the therapeutic efficacy preceding and following treatment. Conclusions made to the study found that Group 2 combination treatment showed the greatest therapeutic effect for autism.

Developmental vascular shunts

There are 3 development vascular shunts present in the embryo which later close postnatally. They are:

Foramen ovale: anatomical location is between the right and left atrium of the heart.

Ductus arteriosus: anatomical location between the descending aorta and the pulmonary artery of the heart.

Ductus venosus: anatomical location is within the liver and the veins in connection with it. The source of blood passing through this shunt is from the umbilical vein, which then drains into the IVC.

--Mark Hill Shunts are correct. I am not convinced that this autism paper is in fact showing a stem cell affect. (3/5)

Lab Assessment 5

Causes for Meconium plug syndrome

This abnormality of gastrointestinal (GIT) development is characterised by the failure of the newborn to pass the meconium from its GIT system within 24-48 hours of being born. The aetiology is somewhat unclear, but there are a number of commonly associated factors that are related to the manifestation of this abnormality in neonates. These are:

(1) Prematurity: The condition is substantially prominent in premature neonates along with a variation of other factors [1]. The approximate incidence for its occurrence in newborns is estimated to range from 1 in every 500 to 1 in every 1,000 neonates.

(2) A thickened immobile meconium: The abnormality is of a transient nature where it is most commonly associated to the presence of a thickened and immobile meconium that obstructs the distal colon or rectum. The condition is somewhat alleviated when the infant passes the meconium plug, with normal bowel movements following this. Some newborns may require some form of rectal stimulation in order to relieve them from the plug obstructing the normal passage, such as the administration of saline enemas [2].

(3) Hirschsprung's disease: In a study conducted to determine the current significance of meconium plug syndrome, it was concluded that 13 per cent of patients who were found to have a meconium plug were followed up after the passing of the plug and later found to be diagnosed with Hirschsprung's disease [3].

(4) Location: As the abnormality is a benign condition, this means it is often restricted to the distal colon or rectum, unlike other plugs such as the ileal meconium plug [4].

(5) Colon aganglionosis: The loss of normal ganglion-cell content along the wall of the bowel has been found to be a factor that is also associated with the abnormality [5]


  1. V Loening-Baucke, K Kimura Failure to pass meconium: diagnosing neonatal intestinal obstruction. Am Fam Physician: 1999, 60(7);2043-50 PubMed 10569507
  2. N Samuel, D Dicker, J Landman, D Feldberg, J A Goldman Early diagnosis and intrauterine therapy of meconium plug syndrome in the fetus: risks and benefits. J Ultrasound Med: 1986, 5(8);425-8 PubMed 3528519
  3. Scott J Keckler, Shawn D St Peter, Troy L Spilde, KuoJen Tsao, Daniel J Ostlie, George W Holcomb, Charles L Snyder Current significance of meconium plug syndrome. J. Pediatr. Surg.: 2008, 43(5);896-8 PubMed 18485962
  4. V C Talwalker, D H Kittur Ileal meconium plugs. Arch. Dis. Child.: 1980, 55(4);288-91 PubMed 7416777

--Mark Hill very good. (5/5)

Lab Assessment 7

Recent findings on pancreatic development

Aysel Türkvatan, Ayşe Erden, Mehmet Akif Türkoğlu, Özlem Yener Congenital variants and anomalies of the pancreas and pancreatic duct: imaging by magnetic resonance cholangiopancreaticography and multidetector computed tomography. Korean J Radiol: 2013, 14(6);905-13 PubMed 24265565

Congenital anomalies of the pancreas and pancreatic ducts may go undetected until adulthood and only discovered randomly upon unintentional discovery such as during surgery. Imaging is highly recommended for adults who experience persistent signs and symptoms of abdominal pain. This paper outlines two pioneering imaging technologies - MRCP and MDCT - which allows for early detection of ductal anatomic variants and congenital anomalies of the pancreas juxtaposed to normal pancreatic embryology. These techniques are a breakthrough in pancreatic-related pathology and diagnosis.

Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreaticography (MRCP) is increasing in its use as it can detect deviations from the norm in the anatomy of the biliary tree and pancreatic duct in a non-invasive manner. It identifies the course and drainage patterns of the ducts to diagnose developmental anomalies. Improvements in multidetected computed tomography (MDCT) technology allows scanning of the biliary tree and pancreas. It produces high resolution images that allow the identification of the optimum planes for viewing to be selected to provide more accurate results in diagnosis.

Embryonic layers and tissues contributing to teeth development

  • Epithelial/mesenchymal interactions are important during the course of teeth development:

- Ectoderm from the first overlying pharyngeal arch

- Neural crest cell contribution: NCCs have an inductive influence with the overlying ectoderm

- Ectomesenchymal cells

  • Odontoblasts: Mesenchymal cells derived from NCCs which differentiate under the influence of enamel epithelium. It forms predentin which calcifies to form dentin
  • Ameloblasts: Produce enamel which lead to teeth growth within the ossifying mandible (jaw)

--Mark Hill Paper is on abnormal pancreatic development discovered postnatally, I was after a normal development type of article. Tooth summary is fine. (4/5)

Lab Assessment 8

Time course of embryonic development of human testis

The embryonic development of the testis refers to anything in genital development that occurs within weeks 1 to 8. The embryonic genital system development involves the:

  • Development of an indifferent gonad
  • Differentiation of the gonad
  • Differentiation of internal organs and ducts

Within the undifferentiated embryo, there exists a unisex gonad that has not yet specified into either the testis or the ovary. The development of this gonad involves the thickening of the mesothelium to form the genital ridge which is the location where primordial germ cells (PGC) will migrate into causing the first signs of a differentiated gonad. They cannot migrate yet until the genital ridge has formed. The mesonephric duct, also known as the Wolffian duct, that remains after the loss of the transient kidney in the undifferentiated embryo, which grows into the posterior body wall on both lateral ends of the urogenital sinus. The paramesonephric duct, also known as the Mullerian duct, lies between the bilateral mesonephric duct and was formed in the late embryo stage.

The genital ridge contains both support cells and interstitial/hormone-secreting cells which are completely dependent upon the expression of SRY to determine the sex of the embryo. In testis development, SRY is expressed to activate a series of pathways that result in the support cells of the genital ridge to become Sertoli cells and the hormone-secreting cells to become Leydig cells. The differentiation of the gonad controls the following states of sex differentiation.

The internal ducts mentioned earlier will be lost based on the inhibition of the anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) which occurs in testis development. AMH remains high in males all throughout development, as the paramesonephric duct is lost, leaving the mesonephric duct to branch out and form internal genital structures connected to the genital ridge. These finger-like projections connect to sex chords and are known as the rete testes and contribute to the drainage system of males. Seminiferous tubules all lie in the medullary region and PGCs are found abundantly in this region too.

Urogenital male.jpg

Historical image showing the male urogenital structural origins


Hill, M.A. (2014) Embryology Urogenital male.jpg. Retrieved September 29, 2014, from

--Mark Hill (5/5)

Lab Assessment 9

Group 2

  • Great introduction! Your entire page's contents was introduced well and simple. I'm just wondering if you'd have to include more references to further justify some of the aspects you've mentioned in your explanation of the renal system development
  • I noticed the historic findings have been left untouched. This section is in my opinion the trickiest because of the difficulty in finding information out there. My suggestions are to go onto pubmed and use key words like "Renal system development: a historical perspective" and then work from there. You can also adjust years to look at earlier papers from the 1920s and onwards. Also use Mark's historical textbooks on this website as a starting point, it's helpful too to see how ideas in fetal development have changed over the years
  • I like how the timeline overview has been simplified. Maybe think of tabulating the findings? You can get the template for doing that off any other group project that has tables by copy and pasting, then just editing in what you need
  • I wouldn't add that first like under "Current research models" but if you wanted to do that, maybe think of rewording it. An example could be: "Animal models are ideal to work with when researching renal system development due to their short gestation periods, making the identification of mutations much quicker." Although what you've said about ethics is technically true, the ethics of working with animal models are still lengthy considerations and the fact that our pages are accessed to the public, maybe something like ethics don't need to be mentioned
  • Include the years of when the current research findings were discovered. Otherwise, good work on this section. Just proofread over it to fix minor errors
  • Great images used throughout
  • Maybe think of having some sections more concise rather than wordy by including dot points

Group 3

  • References are missing from the overview section. Although it serves as an introduction, you can still include references to support what you're saying. Also, maybe the language of this section should be edited to be a bit more formal, like the 2nd sentence in particular
  • GIT = Gastrointestinal tract, not track
  • The hyphens between "foregut" etc are not needed
  • The timeline is a good idea! Everything was simplified. Maybe look to see if you can add some images to this section
  • Week 6 of timeline: I don't think a liver can "obtain" a colour. Look to change the wording
  • Maybe to simplify the timeline section better, tabulate the findings according to time (weeks), rather than dividing it by the midgut, foregut and hind gut section. It makes it hard to follow
  • Need some more work on the recent findings section. Just some tips, when researching on pubmed, there's an option to look at recent articles by customising dates to say 2012-onwards
  • Many potentials for adding images to the "foregut" section. If you find that copyright is too difficult to get around, then you can sketch or trace images from textbooks and upload them
  • Great effort with the drawn images in the "midgut" section! Be wary of colour choice though, as the green highlighter and blue pen can be a bit difficult to see. Otherwise think of adjusting contrast on the images to make the diagram stand out more
  • Maybe think of adding a video from YouTube to show some features of GIT fetal development, like the rotations. If you do that, be sure to include the 11-digit cache code as your reference point

Group 4

  • Great progress on the table. Maybe once you've managed to format everything you need into it, don't forget to reference bits you need to
  • I liked the diagram you used to show the different pathways of genital development for the different genders. It's just a bit blurry so maybe think of re-uploading a clearer image or of making the image on your page a little smaller
  • Good use of dot points under the "current research" section but maybe think of connecting the separate points a bit more as it seems a bit disjointed and difficult to follow. Maybe think of having your write-up as normal and using points in particular parts that show a sequence of events, or separate components of something
  • Look to getting more references for the current research and models section because you're just using 1 at the moment
  • Proofread. I know maybe you guys are still at the collation of information stage, but I find it's easier to get it right as you go along rather than coming back to it later
  • Re-phrase some bits like: female and male fetuses’ external genitalia --> The external genitalia of the female and male fetus
  • Great drawn images! They're all so clear, well thought out and identify all relevant components of what you're trying to show all throughout your page
  • I liked the detail of your "historical findings" section

Group 5

  • Great overview given in the introduction. Maybe look to replacing the words "this page" to something else to avoid repetition
  • I'm really liking how everything has been simplified into dot points and tables where relevant. Don't forget to include relevant references all throughout though, to justify all that you've included in each section
  • I can't express how much I love your first table. Great work!
  • Proofread so that you don't repeat the same things in your table though. You mention "in a study" numerous times but there's no indication to which studies they are
  • I'm sure Mark would be thinking this same thing, but look to getting different references outside of this Embryology website, maybe from textbooks or otherwise for preliminary information on development
  • The "recent findings" section looks nicely formatted but just a bit wordy. Maybe think of dividing the text up with bullet points or images
  • Really liking your "historic findings" section! Great research
  • Maybe think of re-creating some of the simpler pictures by drawing them yourselves. That way you're not using too many pictures from this Embryology website, Mark warned our group about this point
  • Great choices for the "abnormalities" section. Traumatising at first, but very well-researched and presented

Group 6

  • Firstly, props on choosing the endocrine system. It seems like one of the harder ones to take on
  • I don't understand why you chose to divide tasks based on endocrine organs as that has seemed to cause your research to become really disjointed. I guess now work harder to collaborate your separate findings particularly for things like having 1 united timeline overview
  • Ensure uniformity throughout the page with little things like is it "fetal" or "foetal"? Choose one then go with it
  • Maybe have labels for tables more distinguished as being separate to the main text
  • Include the references throughout discussion, rather than a collection at the end of each section. Then have the entire reference list at the bottom like all the other pages have. You can look at the "edit" of other pages to copy and paste the codes
  • Your timeline isn't really a timeline if there are no times mentioned in the "pineal gland" section. Try using a week-by-week format and separating information that way for all of your findings altogether. Then format that into a table
  • Proofread for typos "Abnormalities" in "pineal gland" section
  • Need more images for earlier sections
  • Great formatting of images and tables for the adrenal gland, parathyroid and pancreas sections

Group 7

  • Good start on the introduction. Maybe have it used to explicitly state what your entire page will be covering rather than just a background on what the CNS is.
  • You're missing references for the huge chunks of information in the introduction section
  • The image of the timeline of development seems overly complex and I can't tell if you've explained it. If it's not relevant, maybe just come up with your own concise table of what happens during the course of development
  • Maybe think of re-creating some simpler images by hand and uploading them. That way you can choose to focus on what you actually need from the image to show what you're explaining
  • Include the years of when your current findings were discovered
  • For the "abnormalities" section, as there are many, maybe the amount of detail you've included for the first couple of ones isn't needed, but of course, use your own discretion to how much is relevant. Otherwise, the bullet points are a good way to simplify information
  • Collate all your references in the bottom from all the separate sections

--Mark Hill Good (9/10)

Lab Assessment 10

Ralf Kist, Michelle Watson, Moira Crosier, Max Robinson, Jennifer Fuchs, Julia Reichelt, Heiko Peters The formation of endoderm-derived taste sensory organs requires a pax9-dependent expansion of embryonic taste bud progenitor cells. PLoS Genet.: 2014, 10(10);e1004709 PubMed 25299669

This paper is concerned with the formation of taste sensory organs that are derived from endoderm in the back portion of the tongue, concluding that Pax9 is required for the expansion of taste bud progenitor cells. This conclusion has been reached with the implementation of research in accordance to following the epithelial expression of Pax9 in the embryo. In this research model, mice were used to follow this expression along with the processes of histological assessment and immunohistochemistry (IHC).

Pax9 IHC staining on paraffin sections were altered according to modifications of antibody and antibody diluent, before being incubated. After incubation, serial sections were taken from 3 wild-type and 3 Pax9-deficient to visualise the proliferation using BrdU labelling, which is commonly used to detect which cells are proliferating. Cells were then counted and analysed statistically. Immunofluorescence was then performed with using primary and secondary antibodies. Tongue barrier assays and X-gal staining then followed before specimens were examined and photographed with a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Embryonic mandibles and tongues were dissected then cultured for 2 days.

These methods produced findings such as taste perception being critical for an organism to use to differentiate between nutritious and harmful foods. The embryonic and germ cell origins of these sensory papillae are also findings from this research as during development of the oral epithelium, Pax9 expression is not restricted to just endoderm-derived, but is also found in ectoderm-derived as well as non-sensory papillae. It demonstrates that Pax9-deficiency does not affect patterning, development or maintenance of the mouse FUP, which was unexpected from the research. It was also found to be the first developmental regulator required for the expansion of taste progenitor cells in the developing mouse.

Sensory Taste Development

--Mark Hill Once again the paper is relevant to taste development but you are having difficulty in providing a summary. (4/5)

Lab Assessment 11

David A Knorr, Zhenya Ni, David Hermanson, Melinda K Hexum, Laura Bendzick, Laurence J N Cooper, Dean A Lee, Dan S Kaufman Clinical-scale derivation of natural killer cells from human pluripotent stem cells for cancer therapy. Stem Cells Transl Med: 2013, 2(4);274-83 PubMed 23515118

The main findings of the paper indicate a study that expands upon the recently discovered concept of using induced pluripotent stem cells to derive large numbers of functional and mature Natural Killer cells, adding to another possibility for NK-cell-based cancer immunotherapy. NK cells are a promising source for lymphocytes.

Firstly, hESC- and iPSC-Derived hematopoietic progenitor cells were shown to develop into NK Cells. These NK cells were phenotypically mature and functional, meaning they were capable of killing tumour cells. Also, an enhanced generation of progenitor cells removes cell sorting when hPSC-Derived NK Cells were derived. This meant that this method was significantly improved over past stromal-based systems. These fully functional NK cells also killed K562 tumor cells at a similar level to PB-NK cells and were more cytotoxic than UCB-derived NK cells. This finding showed that it wasn't necessary to require sorting of phenotypically mature NK cells.

Furthermore, it was dicovered that hPSC-Derived stroma supported NK cell development from hematopoietic progenitor cells which meant that these cells started to produce their own adherent cells in culture. The data from this study demonstrates for the first time, successful in-vitro derivation of functional, cytotoxic lymphocytes in the absence of any sorting or murine stromal cell support.

Finally, it indicates towards a clinical-scale expansion of hESC-Derived NK Cells for future antitumor immunotherapy. There was a focus on trying to enhance the number of NK cells generated through other methods. Additionally, these hESC-derived NK cells could be maintained and expanded in culture for longer than 2 months. This showed a greater approach to providing more human NK cells from hPSCs for cancer immunotherapy.

--Mark Hill Good (5/5)