Lecture - 2011 Course Introduction

From Embryology

A Course Introduction


Anatomical image of late pregnancy by Wilhelm Braune (1831-1892)

Topographisch-anatomischer Atlas : nach Durchschnitten an gefrornen Cadavern, Leipzig: Verlag von Veit & Comp., 1867-1872. (Topographic-anatomical Atlas) Wilhelm Braune (1831-1892)

<wikiflv height="320" width="226" autostart="true" repeat="true">Embryo stages 002.flv‎|File:Embryo stages 002 icon.jpg</wikiflv>
Dr Mark Hill
This animation shows the growth of the human embryo during the first 8 weeks following fertilization. This first lecture will be a general introduction to the course and the subject of Embryology.
Firstly, an introduction to the course, its content and assessment and an opportunity to ask questions.
Secondly, some historic background to the subject and related current Australian trends.

MH - I do not expect you to remember specific historic dates or statistical data, this is provided as an introduction to the topic.

Podcast icon.jpg Lectopia Lecture Audio

Lecture 1 Audio


  1. Understand the course objectives and assessment.
  2. Brief understanding of the scientific history of embryology and human development.
  3. Brief understanding of Australian statistical data.


The Developing Human: Clinically oriented embryology

The Developing Human, 8th edn.jpg Citation: The developing human : clinically oriented embryology 8th ed. Moore, Keith L; Persaud, T V N; Torchia, Mark G Philadelphia, PA : Saunders/Elsevier, c2008.

Larsen's human embryology

Larsen's human embryology 4th edn.jpg Citation: Larsen's human embryology 4th ed. Schoenwolf, Gary C; Larsen, William J, (William James). Philadelphia, PA : Elsevier/Churchill Livingstone, c2009.

UNSW Embryology

Logo.png Hill, M.A. (2011) UNSW Embryology (11th ed.). Sydney:UNSW.

ANAT2341 Course Background 2011

I will spend the first half going through the current course design, online support and assessment criteria. This is an opportunity to ask the course coordinator questions about the course.

Human Carnegie stage 1-23.jpg

Links: Course Homepage

Embryology History

Long Ago

19th Century

  • 1824 - Rolando cut chemically hardened (fixed) pieces of brain tissues into thin sections for microscopical examination
  • 1859 - Darwin - On the Origin of Species Evolution Darwin
  • 1880 - image excerpts from a historic study of German embryologist Wilhelm His (1831-1904) Anatomie menschlicher Embryonen (1880).
  • 1889 - Camille Golgi discovered a method of silver staining hardened brain tissues Brain Structure

Early 20th Century

Development in the early 20th century can also be seen in some Historic Movies 1920-1960.

Late 20th Century

Much of the modern history of Medicine/Embryology is documented in the Nobel Prizes for Medicine. There are either text extracts included or links to external texts or references in these notes.

Some key women in development Virginia Apgar and Nicole Le Douarin.

1953 - Apgar test - historic neonatal test designed by Dr Virginia Apgar.

1965 - Neural Crest Research Nicole Le Douarin.

1977 - Thalidomide and its affects on development. Thalidomide

1978 - First IVF baby born. In Vitro Fertilization

1996 - "Dolly the sheep" First adult somatic cell cloning using the process of nuclear transfer.

Nobel Prizes

Much of the modern history of Medicine/Embryology is documented in the Nobel Prizes for Medicine. Remember that these award dates reflect findings that have proven to be scientific key breakthroughs from earlier dates.

21st Century

  • 2000 - Human Genome Complete Human Genome
  • 2001 talk given by Robert Winston "Engineering Reproduction: Will We Still Be Human At The End of the 21st Century".
  • 2009 - Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) Stem Cells
  • 2011 - First Successful Transplantation of a Synthetic Tissue Engineered Windpipe Karolinska Institute | University College London | BBC News "An international team designed and built the nanocomposite tracheal scaffold and produced a specifically designed bioreactor used to seed the scaffold with the patient´s own stem cells. The cells were grown on the scaffold inside the bioreactor for two days before transplantation to the patient. Because the cells used to regenerate the trachea were the patient's own, there has been no rejection of the transplant and the patient is not taking immunosuppressive drugs."

Links: Embryology History

Applied Embryology

Australian Births by Year

This recent data summarised below from Australia's mothers and babies 2007[1] is provided to help you as a clinician and researcher understand the current trends in reproductive medicine within Australia.


  • 289,496 women gave birth resulting in a total of 294,205 births
    • increase of 4.3% from 2006, and 14.4% increase since 2004
  • 2,177 were fetal deaths
  • 29.9 years was the maternal mean age in 2007 compared with 28.9 years in 1998 Why is this increasing age important?
  • 41.6% of mothers had their first baby and 33.5% had their second baby
  • 10,883 women were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (3.8% of all women who gave birth)
    • 39.5% of all mothers in the Northern Territory
    • 25.2 years was the average age of these women who gave birth
  • 3.1% women received ART treatment (see also below Assisted Reproduction Technology)

Smoking during pregnancy

  • 16.6% of women smoked during pregnancy (similar proportion over the previous five years)

Preterm birth

  • 7.4% of all mothers (less than 37 completed weeks of gestation)
    • 38.8 weeks is the average duration of pregnancy

Multiple pregnancy

Australian multiple birth data
  • 4,634 multiple pregnancies (1.6% of all mothers) increasing due to the increased use of ART
    • 4,558 twin pregnancies, 76 triplet pregnancies and no quadruplet pregnancies

Method of birth

Birth caesarean
  • Presentation at birth - 94.6% cephalic (any part vertex, face, or brow of the fetal head) 4.0% breech (buttocks or feet)
Breech presentation (Galletti, 1770)
  • 57.9% vaginal births
    • 11.2% had an instrumental vaginal delivery (forceps or vacuum extraction)
  • 30.9% caesarean section births
    • 21.1% in 1998, 30.8% in 2006, rate recently stable
    • 83.3% of these were repeat caesarean sections

Pre-existing and pregnancy-related medical conditions

  • The following conditions were also reported: epilepsy, diabetes mellitus and hypertension, antepartum haemorrhage, gestational diabetes, cord prolapse and retained placenta, pregnancy-induced hypertension, fetal distress in labour and post-partum haemorrhage rates

Postnatal length of stay

  • 2.0 days non-instrumental vaginal birth
  • 3.0 days vacuum extraction delivery
  • 4.0 days caesarean section or forceps delivery


  • 292,027 live births and 2,177 fetal deaths
    • stillbirth rate of 7.4 per 1,000 births
  • most births occurred in March, August and October
  • 105.6 sex ratio (number of male per 100 female liveborn babies)

Gestational age

  • 90.9% term (37–41 weeks gestation)
  • 8.1% were preterm and 33.2 weeks was the mean gestational age for all preterm births
    • Preterm births were classified groups of 20–27 weeks, 28–31 weeks and 32–36 weeks


  • 92.1% of liveborn babies had a birthweight in the range 2,500–4,499 grams
    • average birthweight was 3,374 grams
  • 17,976 (6.2%) low birthweight (weighing less than 2,500 grams)
  • 2,956 (1.0%) very low birthweight (weighing less than 1,500 grams)
  • 1,288 (0.4%) extremely low birthweight (weighing less than 1,000 grams)

Apgar scores - 1.4% of liveborn babies had a low Apgar score (between 0 and 6) at 5 minutes (More? Apgar test)

Special care nurseries or neonatal intensive care units - 14.5% of liveborn babies were admitted to an SCN or NICU

Perinatal mortality

Perinatal mortality rate NSW 1992-2002
  • 2,177 fetal deaths (7.4 per 1,000 births)
    • fetal deaths are if the birthweight is at least 400 grams or the gestational age is 20 weeks or more
  • 846 neonatal deaths (2.9 per 1,000 live births)
    • neonatal deaths are those occurring in live births up to 28 completed days after birth
  • 3,024 Australian perinatal deaths
    • perinatal death includes birthweight of at least 400 grams or, where birthweight is unknown, a gestational age of at least 20 weeks
  • 23.5% congenital abnormalities (anomalies)
  • 13.8% maternal conditions
  • 12.6% unexplained antepartum death

Assisted Reproduction Technology

Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART) may include more techniques than, but is sometimes also used to identify, In vitro Fertilization (IVF).

  • 51,017 treatment cycles reported to ANZARD in Australia and New Zealand in 2005.
    • 91.1% were from Australian fertility and 8.9% from New Zealand centres (an increase of 13.7% of ART treatment cycles from 2004).
  • 35.5 years average age of women (35.2 years in 2002).
  • Women aged older than 40 years has increased from 14.3% in 2002 to 15.3% in 2005.

Single Embryo Transfers (SET)

  • Significant increase in the number of SET embryos transfer cycles: 2002 28.4%; 2005 48.3%
  • Single-embryo transfer babies had better outcomes compared to babies born to women who had a double-embryo transfer (DET).
    • Singletons babies 96.1% SET, 61.6% DET Preterm babies, 11.7% SET, 30.6% DET Low birthweight liveborn babies, 8.0% SET, 25.0% DET

(Reference: AIHW National Perinatal Statistics Unit Assisted Reproduction Technology in Australia and New Zealand 2005)

Australian Developmental Abnormalities

Australian Data 1981-92

The ten most frequently reported birth defects in Victoria between 2003-2004 (More? Australian Statistics - Victoria)

  1. Hypospadias
  2. Obstructive Defects of the Renal Pelvis or Obstructive Genitourinary Defects
  3. Ventricular Septal Defect
  4. Congenital Dislocated Hip
  5. Trisomy 21 or Down syndrome
  6. Hydrocephalus
  7. Cleft Palate
  8. Trisomy 18 or Edward Syndrome - multiple abnormalities of the heart, diaphragm, lungs, kidneys, ureters and palate 86% discontinued.
  9. Renal Agenesis/Dysgenesis - reduction in neonatal death and stillbirth since 1993 may be due to the more severe cases being identified in utero and being represented amongst the increased proportion of terminations (approximately 31%).
  10. Cleft Lip and Palate - occur with another defect in 33.7% of cases.
Male external 001 icon.jpg Palate 001 icon.jpg Palate 002 icon.jpg
Male External Palate and Lip Palate Formation


Teratology is the study of abnormalities of development.





Links: Human Abnormal Development | Thalidomide | TORCH Infections | History of Teratology | eMJA - Gregg's congenital rubella

Human Development

File:Human development 001 icon.jpg</wikiflv> Next

To form a single cell, which then divides to form many different cells and tissues in the human body.

Lecture 2 - Fertilization

External Links

External Links Notice - The dynamic nature of the internet may mean that some of these listed links may no longer function. If the link no longer works search the web with the link text or name. Links to any external commercial sites are provided for information purposes only and should never be considered an endorsement. UNSW Embryology is provided as an educational resource with no clinical information or commercial affiliation.

Co-ordinator Note


Dr Mark Hill

ANAT2341 Embryology S2 2011
--Mark Hill 06:47, 20 July 2011 (EST)

Course Content 2011

2011 Timetable: | Embryology Introduction | Fertilization | Cell Division/Fertilization | Week 1 and 2 Development | Week 3 Development | Week 1 to 3 | Mesoderm Development | Ectoderm, Early Neural, Neural Crest | Trilaminar Embryo to Early Embryo | Early Vascular Development | Placenta | Vascular and Placenta | Endoderm, Early Gastrointestinal | Respiratory Development | Endoderm and Respiratory | Head Development | Neural Crest Development | Head and Neural Crest | Musculoskeletal Development | Limb Development | Musculoskeletal | Renal Development | Genital | Kidney and Genital | Sensory | Stem Cells | Stem Cells | Endocrine Development | Endocrine | Heart | Integumentary Development | Heart and Integumentary | Fetal | Birth and Revision | Fetal

Glossary Links

Glossary: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | Numbers | Symbols | Term Link

Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, April 16) Embryology Lecture - 2011 Course Introduction. Retrieved from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Lecture_-_2011_Course_Introduction

What Links Here?
© Dr Mark Hill 2024, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G
  1. Laws P & Sullivan EA 2009. Australia's mothers and babies 2007 Perinatal statistics series no. 23. Cat. no. PER 48. Sydney: AIHW National Perinatal Statistics Unit.