2014 Group Project 4

From Embryology
2014 Student Projects
2014 Student Projects: Group 1 | Group 2 | Group 3 | Group 4 | Group 5 | Group 6 | Group 7 | Group 8
The Group assessment for 2014 will be an online project on Fetal Development of a specific System.

This page is an undergraduate science embryology student and may contain inaccuracies in either description or acknowledgements.


--Mark Hill (talk) 15:13, 26 August 2014 (EST) No sub-headings yet and I even had to add your project title! Get moving.

--Mark Hill (talk) 11:53, 6 September 2014 (EST) Just references not much else here yet.

System Development

Weeks M A L E F E M A L E
FERTILIZATION both male and female are same at this point- only difference is presence of XY or XX chromosome
* mesothelium lining posterior abdominal wall
* underlying mesenchyme
* primordial germ cells.
WEEK 5 development of indifferent gonads
  • thickened area of mesothelium develops on medial side of mesonephros [primitive kidney]
  • this + proliferation of underlying mesenchyme = gonadal ridge
  • fingerlike epithelial chords = gonadal chords
  • gonad = cortex + medulla
WEEK 8 seminiferous tubules begin to release androgens
WEEK 10 rudimental rete ovarii forms from indifferent gonads
  • testosterone determining factor induces seminiferous chords from indifferent gonads --> branch to rete testis
  • tunica albiguinea develops
WEEK 16 primordial follicles begin to develop

Genital system development is an extremely interesting area of embryology as it is not until the later stages of embryogenesis (around week 4-6) that sexual differentiation occurs in the fetus, and the sexual organs actually look very similar up until this point, and the formation of the correct sex organs depend really on whether the genital ridge releases Testosterone or oestrogen

<pubmed>24240231</pubmed> <pubmed>24928207</pubmed> <pubmed>24741072</pubmed> --Z3416697 (talk) 20:06, 26 August 2014 (EST)

Current Research Models and Findings

--Z3417753 (talk) 22:43, 26 August 2014 (EST)

<pubmed>18367374</pubmed> <pubmed>15086026</pubmed> <pubmed>14641326</pubmed> <pubmed>11684660</pubmed> <pubmed>22127979</pubmed> <pubmed>24631756</pubmed> <pubmed>23192465</pubmed>

<pubmed>14641326</pubmed> • Extensive research into organogenesis of the external genitalia, mainly in males, is driven by the increasing incidence of hypospadias. • Hypospadias are a result of the defect of fusion of the urethral folds of the lower part of the penis to fold and form the tubular penile urethra. • The result of this in humans is the presence of an abnormal ventral urethral meatus, incomplete formation of the prepuce and an abnormal penile curvature. • Development of the male external genitalia, which occurs in the fetal period of development, is androgen dependent and involves epithelial-mesenchymal interactions. • A minority of hypospadias cases are a result of the androgenic pathways being impaired and causing this congenital defect. • The cell-cell interactions that allow for the development of the male external genitalia are mediated by a broad range of signaling molecules and growth factors such as fibroblast growth factors (FGFs), Sonic hedgehog (SHH) and bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs). • Such signaling and growth factors are downstream of androgen receptor signaling and an understanding of the mechanisms that underlie normal penile development during the fetal period, will lead to a deeper understanding of the aetiology of hypospadias. • Future research can work to decrease the incidence of hypospadias, which has more than doubled in the past 30 years.



Historic Finding

Female Genital Development

The mullerian (paramesonephric) ducts, found laterally to the wolffian ducts, are the original structures of the female reproductive system. Female sexual organs (the fallopian tubes, uterus and vagina) originate from the mullerian ducts, which differentiates within the foetal developmental phase. Initially the foetus contains two mullerian ducts, however by the ninth week, fusion of the lower portion of the ducts is complete, creating the fundamental structure of the uterus and the vagina, however the these two organs are not continuous with the vagina being solid. The non-fused upper part of the ducts emerge into the fallopian tubes. It is not until the fourth and fifth month of development that the uterus becomes continuous with the vagina, with both organs developing a hollow lumen. The muscular layers of the uterus is also present by this stage. The cervix begins to form within the fifth month in between the continuous vagina and uterus. Also within the same month, the formation of the hymen occurs. The hymen is described as a pouting vertical slit and represents the remains of the mullerian eminence. [1] [2]

Male Genital Development

The Prostate

Foetal prostate differentiation begins in the 10th week of gestation, influenced by the production of testosterone that starts within the 8th week. It is discovered that the origin of the gland is from the urogenital sinus. The prostate gland continues to grow and differentiate within the foetal period and postnatally under the influence of androgens.

Prostate foetal development has been continuously reshaping at a slow rate since the published illustrations of the male sex organs by Andreas Vesalius in 1543. Throughout this period, various anatomical classifications have been proposed via dissection procedures, hormone responses and histological methods, attributing to the current understanding of prostate development. It was not until the following century that another anatomical description of the prostate was put forth. Gerard Blasius in 1674 introduced the gland as a structure encircling the neck of the bladder. Literature in relevance to the embryonic prostate was further published in the late 19th century. The literature was reviewed and compared within the subsequent 20th century articles. Research into the structure and development of the prostate continued, however the rate of publication steeply increased in the 20th century, where each decade saw an improvement of the understanding of the development of the gland.

In 1912, Oswald S Lowsley constructed the first detailed illustration of the anatomy of the prostate, and to an extent, began the research that led to today’s understanding of the sex gland. Lowsley created his model from researching on a 13-week old foetus, 30-week old foetus, and one at full-term. From examining the samples he proposed that the prostate can be divided into five lobes consisting of differing amounts of tubules. This concept was later rendered invalid, however a discovery from Lowsley that is still accepted today is that the prostate originates from the urogenital sinus.

Lowsley’s division of the prostate into lobes was questioned by Johnson in 1920, where in his research and reconstruction of the prostate, was has unable to produce identical results as Lowsley. Upon conclusion of his work he reshaped the anatomical illustration of the prostate, however preserved the use of the term lobe in describing the prostatic divisions. It was not until 1954, 42 years post the introduction of the lobe terminology, that it was completely revoked by Franks. Franks, upon dissections, described the prostate in terms of three concentric regions. Today, it is clear that the prostate consists of zones and not lobes as introduced by Lowsley nor concentric regions as introduced by Franks. The concept of prostatic zones was established by McNeal in the 1980s and is still accepted today. [3]


  1. <pubmed>17232227</pubmed>
  2. <pubmed>13230915</pubmed>
  3. <pubmed>18462432</pubmed>

--Z3415716 (talk) 01:10, 27 August 2014 (EST)

<pubmed>18462432</pubmed> <pubmed>17232227</pubmed> Martyn P. L. Williams, John M. Huston The history of ideas about testicular descent. Pediatric Surgery International: 1991, 6(3):180-184 The history of ideas about testicular descent






In males the most common congenital malformation of the external genitalia is hypospadias, it’s also the second most common developmental disorder. It occurs due to the midline fusion of the male urethra, as a result the urethral meatus is misplaced. There are several sites where this abnormality may occur: granular, penile, penoscrotal, scrotal and perineal. [1] Its believed that genetic factors contribute to the presence of the disorder, however endocrine and environmental factors are also of significance. [2] Treatment The surgical methods currently used to treat distal hypospadias, include tabularized incised plate and meatal advancement and glansplasty intergrated repair. For proximal forms two staged procedures are employed. [3]


  1. <pubmed>16006950</pubmed>
  2. <pubmed>24936573</pubmed>
  3. <pubmed>25023236</pubmed>

--Z3417458 (talk) 21:01, 26 August 2014 (EST)




A review on spermatogenesis and cyptorchidism a common in males, results in an absence of testes either one or both.