Lecture - 2013 Course Introduction

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A Course Introduction

From this Early zygote.jpg to this Newborn.jpg in 9 months

Course coordinator | This 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 some concepts that will be covered during the course.

You do not need to remember specific historic dates or statistical data, this is provided as an introduction to the topic.


  1. Understand the course objectives and assessment.
  2. Brief understanding of historic background and concepts covered in the course.
  3. Broad overview of Human Development.

Lecture Date: 13th August Lecture Time: 12:00 Venue: Wallace Wurth LG02 Speaker: Dr Steve Palmer

The Powerpoint file used to present this lecture is available as a pdf document HERE

ANAT2341 Course Background 2013

Spend the first half of the lecture 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

The first 8 weeks of human development.

Links: Course Homepage


Either of the textbooks listed below are recommended for this course and page references to both are given in each lecture. Both textbooks available at campus bookshop. There are additional embryology textbooks that can also be used, consult course organizer. See also Embryology Textbooks

The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (8th ed.)

The Developing Human, 9th edn.jpg Keith L. Moore, T.V.N. Persaud, Mark G. Torchia. (2011). The Developing Human: clinically oriented embryology (9th ed.). Philadelphia: Saunders. Description: xix, 540 p. p. : ill., ports. Publisher: Philadelphia, PA : Saunders/Elsevier, c2013. ISBN: 9781437720020 (pbk.) NLM Unique ID: 101561564

The following chapter links only work with a UNSW connection.

Larsen’s Human Embryology (4th ed.)

Larsen's human embryology 4th edn.jpg Schoenwolf, G.C., Bleyl, S.B., Brauer, P.R. and Francis-West, P.H. (2009). Larsen’s Human Embryology (4th ed.). New York; Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

The following chapter links only work with a UNSW connection and can also be accessed through this UNSW Library connection.

Publisher Links: The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology | Larsen’s Human Embryology

Recent History

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

Louise Brown, the first IVF baby as an adult.

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

Stem cell artificial trachea and bronchi
"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."
  • 2012 - MRI of Childbirth
Birth MRI icon.jpg
 ‎‎Human Birth MRI
Quicktime | Flash

Links: Embryology History

Applied Embryology

Australia’s mothers and babies (2009) cover

The information is based upon data from the publication "Australia's mothers and babies 2009"[1] and is provided for educational purposes only. The original full publication is available online from AIHW Perinatal statistics series no. 25.

More births

Australian Births by Year

In 2009 in Australia, a total 294,540 women gave birth to 299,220 babies. There were 296,791 live births and 2,341 fetal deaths. There was a 0.8% increase in the total number of births compared with 2008, but there was a fall in the rate of females aged 15-44 years in the whole population who gave birth (from 64.4 per 1,000 in 2008 to 63.6 per 1,000 in 2009).

  • 2009 - 296,791 live births and 2,341 fetal deaths
  • 2008 - 294,737 live births and 2,188 fetal deaths
  • 2007 - 292,027 live births and 2,177 fetal deaths


  • Average maternal age in 2009 was 30.0 years compared with 29.0 years in 2000.
  • Approximately 41.6% of women were having their first baby.
    • Average age for first time mothers was 27.9 in 2009 which was 0.3 years younger than for 2008.
    • Of all first-time mothers, 13.7% were aged 35 years or older in 2009, compared with 10.3% in 2000.
  • ART was used by 3.6% of women who gave birth. (from available data on assisted reproductive technology (ART) where available)

Antenatal factors

Smoking while pregnant was reported by 14.5% of all mothers and by 37.0% of teenage mothers. In the 4 jurisdictions where data on the number of antenatal visits were available, 97.3% of women who gave birth at 32 weeks or more gestation attended at least one antenatal visit, with 91.9% attending 5 or more.

Indigenous mothers

Of women who gave birth during 2008, 3.8% identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. The average age of Indigenous mothers was 25.1 years, compared with 30.1 years for non-Indigenous mothers. Over half of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers reported smoking during pregnancy (50.9%), compared with 14.4% of non-Indigenous women who gave birth.

Labour and delivery

About 3.8% of women who gave birth during 2009 identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Indigenous mothers are younger than non-Indigenous mothers; their average age was 25.3 years, compared with 30.2 years for non-Indigenous mothers. Smoking during pregnancy was reported by half (49.6%) of Indigenous mothers. Of Indigenous mothers who gave birth at 32 weeks or more gestation, 76.8% attended 5 or more antenatal visits.

Galletti1770 breech 01.jpg Birth caesarean.jpg
Breech presentation (Galletti, 1770) Birth caesarean

Baby outcomes

In 2009, 8.2% of babies were born preterm (before 37 completed weeks of gestation) and 0.9% post-term (42 weeks gestation or more). Overall, 6.2% of liveborn babies were of low birthweight (less than 2,500 grams) and this nearly doubled (10.8%) among mothers who smoking during pregnancy. Less than 1.5% of liveborn babies had a low Apgar score (measure of the baby’s condition at birth). The perinatal death rate was 9.8 per 1,000 births in 2009, which comprised fetal and neonatal death rates of 7.8 per 1,000 births and 3.0 per 1,000 live births respectively.

Aus multiple birth graph.png Perinatal mortality rate NSW 1992-2002.png
Australian multiple birth data Perinatal mortality rate NSW 1992-2002

Assisted Reproductive Technology

Assisted reproductive technology in Australia and New Zealand 2009.

Assisted reproductive technology in Australia and New Zealand 2009.[2] 9 Nov 2011

  • In 2009, there were 70,541 assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment cycles undertaken in Australian and New Zealand.
  • Of these cycles, 17.2% resulted in a live delivery (the birth of at least one liveborn baby).
  • In total, 13,114 liveborn babies were born following ART treatment in 2009.
  • The most important trend in ART treatment has been the increase of single embryo transfer, from 48.3% in 2005 to 69.7% in 2009.
  • This trend has resulted in significant reduction of multiple delivery rate from 14.1% in 2005 to 8.2% in 2009. (More? Assisted Reproductive Technology)


  1. Li Z, McNally L, Hilder L & Sullivan EA 2011. Australia’s mothers and babies 2009. Perinatal statistics series no. 25. Cat. no. PER 52. Sydney: AIHW National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit. Viewed 3 January 2012 <http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=10737420870>
  2. Wang YA, Macaldowie A, Hayward I, Chambers GM, & Sullivan EA 2011. Assisted reproductive technology in Australia and New Zealand 2009. Assisted reproduction technology series no. 15. Cat. no. PER 51. Canberra: AIHW. Online Summary | PDF

Australian Developmental Abnormalities

Australian Data 1981-92

The ten most frequently reported birth defects in Victoria between 2003-2004

  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.


Teratology is the study of abnormalities of development. Some examples of historic teratology studies.

  • Rubella <pubmed>1879476</pubmed>
  • Thalidomide <pubmed>331548</pubmed>

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

Human Development Timeline

Human development timeline graph 02.jpg


Embryo stages 002 icon.jpg
 ‎‎Human Embryo
Quicktime | Flash
Birth MRI icon.jpg
 ‎‎Human Birth MRI
Quicktime | Flash
Human development 001 icon.jpg
 ‎‎Human Development
Quicktime | Flash
Fetal growth icon.jpg
 ‎‎Fetal Development
Quicktime | Flash

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.

The following are links to free iBooks available for background reading.

Gray's Embryology

Grays Anatomy Embryology cover.jpg
  • iTunes link | iBooks Store
  • Description - an extract of the embryology content from Anatomy of the Human Body By Henry Gray Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger, 1918.
  • Releases
    • First Edition - Jan 2012
    • Second Edition - March 2012 Repaired formatting and image display issues related to Pad rotated display and minor editing issues.
  • Print length 169 pages, 41.6 MB, Language English.
  • The current website also includes numerous images from this textbook (see Category:Gray's 1918 Anatomy).

The Carnegie Staged Embryos

The Carnegie Staged Embryos cover.jpg
  • iTunes link | iBook Store
  • Description - Imagine the excitement of seeing this incredible early period of human development for the first time. Now consider that much of our initial understanding of human development is based upon study of historic embryo collections. You can now look at these historic images of the first 8 weeks after fertilisation and explore for yourself the changes that occur in human development during this key period. This current book is designed as an atlas of the Carnegie embryo stages with some brief notes and additional information covering the first 8 weeks of development. These images are from from the beginning of last century and are one of the earliest documented series of human embryos collected for basic research and medical education on development. I hope you enjoy learning about the amazing early events that begin to make and shape us. This is the second book in a series of educational releases from UNSW Embryology.
  • Release: First Edition - Mar 12, 2012 ISBN 978-0-7334-3148-7
  • Print Length 82 Pages, 25.8 MB Language English.
  • PDF Preview version 3.87 MB (Read the associated information, this is an edited educational preview version with many features not functioning).