From Embryology

Welcome to the 2014 Embryology Course!

Links: Timetable | How to work online | One page Wiki Reference Card | Moodle
  • Each week the individual assessment questions will be displayed in the practical class pages and also added here.
  • Copy the assessment items to your own page and provide your answer.
  • Note - Some guest assessments may require completion of a worksheet that will be handed in in class with your student name and ID.
Individual Lab Assessment
  1. Lab 1 Assessment - Fertilization References
  2. Lab 2 Assessment - Uploading a Research Image
  3. Lab 3 Assessment - Researching your Project Sub-Heading
  4. Lab 4 Assessment - Cord Stem Cells
  5. Lab 5 Assessment - Abnormalities
  6. Lab 6 Assessment - Group Work (As announced in the lecture, No individual assessment item for this Lab, but I do expect you to have added content to your Group project by tomorrow's Lab.)
  7. Lab 7 Assessment - Endocrine+Teeth
  8. Lab 8 - Genital
  9. Lab 9 - Peer Assessment
  10. Lab 10 - Sensory Development
  11. Lab 11 - Stem Cells
  12. Lab 12 - Stem Cells Presentation (see preparation information)
Lab 12 - Stem Cell Presentation Assessment More Info
Group Comment Mark (10)
  • Lots of effort to place article in larger context
  • Slide lay out could be improved: lots of empty space, use larger images and talk through them
  • Results presentation a bit convoluted. Try to finish discussion of each experiment with a clear conclusion.
  • Repetition of information towards the end
  • One presenter had an unprofessional style of presentation
  • Good well-structured presentation
  • Good introduction
  • Methods discussed separately. Try to avoid this, and incorporate in discussion of experiments. Not sure if technology was understood very well.
  • Good well-structured presentation
  • Do not discuss methods as a separate section
  • Discussion of results not always very clear, comprehension?
  • Good well-structured presentation
  • Lots of text on slides, improve talking through images, blow up images
  • Good discussion
  • Good well-structured presentation, amount of text on slides relatively good.
  • Figures too small, discussion bit convoluted
  • Slightly over time
  • Good comprehension and well-structured presentation.
  • Too much text on slides
  • Experiments discussed in a lot of detail. Try to be more concise and discuss aim of experiment, approach, summarize results, conclude.
  • No talking through figures
  • Good well-structured presentation, great introduction, inclusion of images in presentation done relatively well.
  • Methods discussed separately. Incorporate methods in discussion of the experiments in the results section.
  • Try not to depend too much on text on your slides
  • Talking through results images was not very clear, comprehension?
More Useful Links
Student Projects
Group 1 Respiratory User:Z3330991 User:Z3332339 User:Z3333429 User:Z3372817
Group 2 Renal User:Z3463310 User:Z3465141 User:Z3465654 User:Z5030311
Group 3 Gastrointestinal User:Z3414515 User:Z3375627 User:Z3415141 User:Z3415242
Group 4 Genital User:Z3415716 User:Z3416697 User:Z3417458 User:Z3417753
Group 5 Integumentary User:Z3417796 User:Z3417843 User:Z3418340 User:Z3418488
Group 6 Endocrine User:Z3418702 User:Z3418837 User:Z3418698 User:Z3414648
Group 7 Neural User:Z3418981 User:Z3419587 User:Z3422484 User:Z3374116
Group 8 Musculoskeletal User:Z3418779 User:Z3418718 User:Z3418989
Student Projects Fetal Development of a specific System.
2014 Course: Week 2 Lecture 1 Lecture 2 Lab 1 | Week 3 Lecture 3 Lecture 4 Lab 2 | Week 4 Lecture 5 Lecture 6 Lab 3 | Week 5 Lecture 7 Lecture 8 Lab 4 | Week 6 Lecture 9 Lecture 10 Lab 5 | Week 7 Lecture 11 Lecture 12 Lab 6 | Week 8 Lecture 13 Lecture 14 Lab 7 | Week 9 Lecture 15 Lecture 16 Lab 8 | Week 10 Lecture 17 Lecture 18 Lab 9 | Week 11 Lecture 19 Lecture 20 Lab 10 | Week 12 Lecture 21 Lecture 22 Lab 11 | Week 13 Lecture 23 Lecture 24 Lab 12
Student Projects - Group 1 | Group 2 | Group 3 | Group 4 | Group 5 | Group 6 | Group 7 | Group 8 | Moodle

Lab Attendance

Lab1 --Z3332339 (talk) 12:45, 6 August 2014 (EST)




Lab2 --Z3332339 (talk) 11:13, 13 August 2014 (EST)

Lab 3 --Z3332339 (talk) 11:12, 20 August 2014 (EST)

Lab 4--Z3332339 (talk) 11:05, 27 August 2014 (EST)

Lab 5--Z3332339 (talk) 11:05, 3 September 2014 (EST)

Lab 6--Z3332339 (talk) 11:12, 10 September 2014 (EST)

Lab 7--Z3332339 (talk) 11:05, 17 September 2014 (EST)

Lab 8--Z3332339 (talk) 11:24, 24 September 2014 (EST)

Lab 9--Z3332339 (talk) 11:10, 8 October 2014 (EST)

Lab Assessment 1


A role for carbohydrate recognition in mammalian sperm-egg binding The primary focus of this article is on the first stage of fertilization, the binding of sperm to the specialised extracellular matrix of the egg, known as the zona pelluicda (ZP). The article suggests that the mammalian egg cell has a specialised carbohydrate site on the ZP for which the sperm recognises and binds to, enabling the fusion of genetic information between these two gametes.

The article explains how it was previously thought that data obtained from mouse sperm-egg interactions could explain human sperm-cell binding. However, recent research has suggested that the mouse model cannot be directly applied to the human model. Thus, this research paper investigates sperm-ZP interactions, using humans as the predominant model in finding the specific requirements for human sperm-egg binding which couldn’t previously be explained by the mouse model.

This article also uses a review that focused on the identification of the egg binding proteins associated with the binding of human sperm to the egg. Their findings concluded identifying the role for carbohydrate recognition on the ZP. These carbohydrates have specific sequences that cause restriction of ZP glycosylation in humans that could not otherwise be explained in mouse and pig models or are not the same for humans. This finding suggests that the regulation of glycosylation could be directly correlated with the degree of organismal complexity. Evidence favouring this concept would require the sequencing of ZP glycoproteins from other mammals at different levels of the evolutionary ladder, which could be are areas of future directions for this research.


Examining the temperature of embryo culture in in vitro fertilization: a randomized controlled trial comparing traditional core temperature (37°C) to a more physiologic, cooler temperature (36°C)

The study undertaken in this article was to determine if better clinical outcomes of IVF resulted from embryo cultures in cooler temperatures (36 degrees) as oppose to the traditional core temperature of (37 degrees).

The method of investigation: retrieving eight or more oocytes from a female of 42 years of age, with infertile couples (n=52). These mature oocytes were divided into two groups to be cultured at different temperatures; one group at 36 degrees, the other at 37 degrees. The rate of development and expansion of blastocysts (volume), fertilization, aneuploidy and sustained implantation were the factors measured to in order to determine which of these conditions clinically improved the environment best for embryonic development. This could potentially change the temperatures of which in vitro fertilization takes places in clinics in the future.

However, the results concluded that IVF culture at 36 degrees does not improve the conditions for blastulation and pregnancy rates in human in IVF. Thus, maintaining the existing temperature or changing it to 26 degrees does not alter the effects or success of IVF.

--Mark Hill These articles are good and your descriptions are appropriate. We will discuss in later tutorials how to format the referencing correctly. Help:Reference_Tutorial (5/5)

Lab Assessment 2

Oocytes with Dark Zona Pelluica affect fertility

Oocytes with DZP demonstrate affect on fertility.png

Human mature oocytes with a normal (A) and dark (B) zona pelluicda. Oocytes with a DZP (dark zona pelluicda) have demonstrated a lower success of fertlization and implantation in clinical pregnancy rates in IVF/ICSI cycles. Patients with normal zona pellucida (NZP) were used as the control group.


<pubmed>24586757</pubmed>| PLoS One.

Figure 2. Human mature oocytes with a normal (A) and dark (B) zona pellucida.Scale bar (A, B): 100 µm. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089409.g002

Shi W, Xu B, Wu L-M, Jin R-T, Luan H-B, et al. (2014) Oocytes with a Dark Zona Pellucida Demonstrate Lower Fertilization, Implantation and Clinical Pregnancy Rates in IVF/ICSI Cycles. PLoS ONE 9(2): e89409. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089409


© 2014 Shi 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 a good image for the assessment and I have made some minor changes to the information associated with the file. You do not need to include the copyright and student template on your page, just with the image. (5/5)

Note - This image was originally uploaded as part of an undergraduate science student project and may contain inaccuracies in either description or acknowledgements. Students have been advised in writing concerning the reuse of content and may accidentally have misunderstood the original terms of use. If image reuse on this non-commercial educational site infringes your existing copyright, please contact the site editor for immediate removal.

Lab Assessment 3

2.Identify Current Research, Models and Findings

Physiological factors in fetal lung growth


This article looks at the current findings of different physiological factors that affect normal neonatal, functioning lungs upon during fetal development. The size of the paired organ to be able to exchange carbon dioxide with oxygen for the very first time at birth, is crucial to be able to withstand that pressure. As we know surfactant, is a lipid-protein composite. It is crucial to the function of the neonatal lung because:

A. Its high viscosity and low surface tension stabilize the diameter of the alveoli and prevent their collapse after each expiration.

B. Because the alveoli remain partially open, they are expanded on inspiration with much less expenditure of energy. [ANAT 2241 LEC 11-Respriation]

However, current research suggests that the production of surfactant which is reliant on hormonal factors, have little influence on fetal lung growth. In contrast, the following physiological lung growth factors were found to permit the lungs to express their inherent growth potential.

[this will be looked at further as the research project progresses]

Lung morphogenesis revisited: old facts, current ideas


Classical ideas -4 basic rules vs their review

Genetic control of lung development


Current concepts of lung development

Effects of hormones on fetal lung development


The fetal respiratory system as target for antenatal therapy


--[[User:Z8600021|Mark Hill] These references are more than appropriate (5/5).

Lab Assessment 4

1. An example of a use of Stem Cell Cord Therapy


Human mesenchymal stem cells MSCs (human embryonic tissue) have been used on animal models such as mice for their therapeutic qualities involved in regenerating liver tissue. This paper specifically looks at the possibility of using MSC to be used to treat degenerating organs after the discovering that MSC can be used as a substitute for liver acute failure on the mouse model. The human umbilical cord MSCs (hUCMSCs) have the capability to differentiate into hepatocyte-like cells due to their multipotence, meaning the that all the functions of the typical hepatocyte such as secretion of albumin and storage of glycogen can now be carried out from the hUCMSCs.

To imitate the environment for hUCMSCs to proliferate and differentiate into functional hepatocyte-like cells (iHeps), hUCMSCs were exposed to the growth factors, cytokinesis and chemicals. The induced i-heps demonstrated similar morphology to that of human hepatocytes, however the more significant part was evaluating their hepatic functions. Demonstration of hepatocyte function of i-Heps in vitro, is summarised in their findings as they compared i-Heps to hUCMS. 1) More glycogen was stored in i-Heps than in hUCMSC 2) 12 times more urea was produced by i-Heps than hUCMSC 3) lower levels of glycogen were stored in hUCMSC

This has had a significant clinical research relevance in treating acute liver failure and the possibility of treating other diseases as well.

2.Vascular shunts present in the embryo but closed postnatally

  1. The Foramen ovale -located between the right and left atrium.
  2. The Ductus arteriosus - located between the pulmonary artery and descending aorta.
  3. The Ductus venosus - located in the liver between the umbilical vein and IVC.

Lab Assessment 5

Abnormality of Respiratory development: Asthma

Asthma is a disease that affects 10% of the population in Australia according to the Asthma organisation of Australia. [1].This prevalence in Australia is significantly high compared to other countries. However, the cause for our high ranking amongst other countries is unknown. In this research paper, a strong association between low birth weight, short gestational age and fetal growth restriction is shown to influence the development of asthma in children.

A primary part of their research involved a cohort study on infants born between 1979-2005, and following up during different stages of their development postnatally; 3 years old, first hospitalisation for asthma, 18th birthday etc. A majority of the subjects were hospitalized for asthma during their follow up that was consistent with their 3 findings that influenced infant hospitalisation because of the disease.

One conclusion from the study was that pre-term neonates may have under developed lungs that are smaller than the fetuses who completed the full gestation period (38weeks). Incompetent lungs could be due to restricted growth factors, inhibiting full lung capacity. Fetuses that were born small yet completed the gestational period, were infants unaffected by asthma and hence hospitalisation from it. As predicted, the risk of hospitalization for childhood asthma was proportional to lower birth weights, with only 1kg making a remarkable difference. This was a similar case for shorter gestational age.



Lab Assessment 7

One of the most important developmental aspects of the male gonads is the descent of the testes. Recent research has discovered that the normal descent of the testes during male gonad development can be interrupted when exposed to paracetamol, aspirin, and Indomethacin (a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) causing cryptorchidism. Cryptorchidism is an abnormality of either unilateral or bilateral testicular descent, occurring in up to 30% premature and 3-4% term males. Descent may complete post-natally in the first year, failure to descend can result in sterility [1] . The aim of this research article was to determine whether common analgesic (pain relief drugs as mentioned above) disrupted the morphology and endocrine function of the human testis [2] .

Amongst the outcomes measured from comparing human fetal testes exposed to analgesic and those were not exposed to analgesic, were testosterone and the anti-Müllerian hormone. The number of testicular cells was then counted through histological and image analysis, as the testing of this occurred in vitro. The conclusion from this research identified that when fetuses were exposed to analgesic from pregnancy this cause disturbances in the fetal testis. These disturbances increase when small, critical age windows, such as when male gonad development takes place.

Data from a recent study of male human fetal (between 10 and 35 weeks) gonad position [3]

  • 10 to 23 weeks - (9.45%) had migrated from the abdomen and were situated in the inguinal canal
  • 24 to 26 weeks - (57.9%) had migrated from the abdomen
  • 27 to 29 weeks - (16.7%) had not descended to the scrotum

Thus, what is advised by this article is a caution concerning consumption of analgesics such as aspirin, indomethacin, and paracetamol during pregnancy that may cause an inhibition of normal fetal testes morphology and endocrine function.


[1] [2] [3]

The embryonic layers and tissues that contribute to developing teeth. The stages in tooth development include:

  • Lamina
  • Placode
  • Bud
  • Cap
  • Bell

The tissues that contribute to developing teeth include:

  • Odontoblasts
  • Ameloblasts
  • Periodontal ligament

Lab Assessment 8

Embryonic Development of the Ovary

Indifferent Stage

Much of the gonad development between males and females is analogous during embryonic development. Differentiation of the gonads (testis or ovary) occur late in embryonic development. Sexual differentiation is determined early on, where double X chromosomes in embryo will trigger the female gonad development whereas, an inherent XY chromosome will determine that the sex of this embryo will be a male. More particularly, the expression of the SRY gene on the Y chromosome determines the gender of the conceptus and signals pathways for male gonad development. Thus, when the SRY gene is not expressed, the human embryo will follow the gonad development of females.

Another contributing factor to gonad development after sex determining genes is hormone production. For example, at the urogenital sinus the presence dihyrdrotestosterone (DHT) determines males development and the absence of dihyrdrotestosterone (DHT) determines female development.

Differentiation Stage

• In the absence of the Y chromosome, female development occurs

• somatic support cells differentiate into follicle cells (instead of sertoli cells in males)

• From the intermediate mesoderm, the development of the Müllerian duct Müllerian duct persists and is stimulated to differentiate into the uterine tube, the uterus and the upper vagina. However, mesonephric ducts degenerate. The opposite occurs for the opposite sex.

• Presence of dihyrdrotestosterone (DHT)

• Absence of Anti- Müllerian hormone (AMH), since sertoli cells are not differentiated by SRY gene

• Some of the other essential genes involved in ovarian development include Wnt-4 and DAX-1

• Cortical cords extend from the surface of the developing ovary into the underlying mesenchyme during early fetal period

• As these cortical cords increase in size, primordial germ cells begin to arise> these then become primordial follicles> which contain an oogonium> proliferate and enter first meiotic division to for primary oocytes

• By the 10th week, ovaries are histologically identifiable