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 Attendence

Week 2: --Z3418488 (talk) 12:45, 6 August 2014 (EST)
Week 3: --Z3418698 (talk) 11:16, 13 August 2014 (EST)
Week 4: --Z3418488 (talk) 12:05, 20 August 2014 (EST)
Week 5: --Z3418488 (talk) 12:46, 27 August 2014 (EST)
Week 6: --Z3418488 (talk) 11:48, 3 September 2014 (EST)
Week 7: --Z3418488 (talk) 11:24, 10 September 2014 (EST)
Week 8: [Did GAMSAT]
Week 9: --Z3418488 (talk) 11:07, 24 September 2014 (EST)
Week 10: --Z3418488 (talk) 23:54, 14 October 2014 (EST) [Talk to Dr. Mark]
Week 11: --Z3418488 (talk) 11:30, 15 October 2014 (EST)

Individual Lab Assessments

Lab Assessment 1

The objective of the study was to investigate whether using culture at 36 degrees celsisus would improve blastulation and pregnancy rates compared to the traditional core temperature of 37 degrees celsisus in human IVF trials. Seventy couples volunteered and were considered for participation in the study.
Obtained from a single source of oocytes, mature oocytes were randomly assorted into 2 categories at a time- one cultured in a 37 degree celsisus environment and the other cultured in a 36 degrees celsisus environment. A random number assortment determined which group of oocytes would be cultured in each environment. The mature oocytes were classified into each group in equal numbers, based on morphology (as determined by the subjective assessment of the embryologist). All oocytes immediately underwent intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). On day 5 of IVF, DNA fingerprinting was used to determine the outcome of each embryo. This process was repeated using single sources of oocytes from the differing respective participants (all selected and based on a predetermined criteria).
Throughout the study, the procedure was performed as planned. The incubators were constantly ensured to have an equivalent stability at both temperature- the variations at each trial having no statistical significance. In this investigation a total of 805 mature oocytes were cultured- including 399 from the 36°C cultured environment and the remaining 406 from the 37°C environment. However, paired analysis demonstrated a slightly higher usable rate of blastocyst per zygote at the 37°C environment (48.4%), compared to that at the 36°C culture (41.2%). This result was deemed statistically significant and noticeable. However, the rates of fertilisation, sustained implementation and aneuploidy was deemed equivalent.
It was thus concluded from this investigation that IVF culturing at 36°C does not show any clinical improvements or advantages to embryo development than the traditional 37°C environment typically used- as other previous studies based on animal IVF have implied.


  1. <pubmed>25044079</pubmed>

Antiretroviral preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is used in the prevention of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The effects of PrEP on pregnancy outcomes and incidences was studied in this recent investigation.
Methodology- 1785 heterosexual and HIV uninfected couples from 9 sites in Kenya and Uganda participated in a randomised trial, conducted between July 2008 and June 2013. Participants were initially given on a daily basis either TDF, FTC + TDF or a placebo until July 2011. PrEP was given for the remaining testing period. Testing for pregnancy was conducted monthly- with the study medication discontinued with a positive pregnancy result.
Results- For every 100 persons, approximately 10 became pregnant belonging to the placebo group, 11.9 for those in the TDF group and 8.8. amongst those assigned in the FTC+ TDF combination group. The loss of pregnancy before July 2011 was approximately 42.5% for the FTC + TDF group, 32.3% for the placebo group and 27.7% for the TDF group. The occurrence of birth defects, anomalies and growth through the first year of life had not statistical significance during the first year of life.
Among the heterosexual, HIV-negative African couples studied, differences in the incidence of pregnancy, birth outcomes or growth were not statistically significant between the differing test groups. However, since all study medication (including that of PrEP) was discontinued at the instant result of a positive result- definitive statements about the safety of prEP in the preconception period can not be established.


  1. <pubmed>1889140</pubmed>

--Mark Hill Excellent. These are good summaries of fertilisation papers. (5/5)

Lab Assessment 2

Copyright: Copyright © 2012, HSR Proceedings in Intensive Care and Cardiovascular Anesthesia This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License 3.0, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: and

Congenitally bicuspid aortic valve in the ascending aorta of a fetus.jpg

DIC Congenitally bicuspid aortic valve in the ascending aorta of a fetus[1]

  1. <pubmed>PMC3484928</pubmed>| [1]

--Mark Hill You needed to include the reference, copyright and student template with the image file as well as on your student page. This is so the information is always associated with the file itself no matter where it is used. (4/5)

Lab Assessment 3

Current Research [1] [2] [3]

  1. <pubmed>25015802</pubmed>
  2. <pubmed>24910745</pubmed>
  3. <pubmed>24520485</pubmed>

--Mark Hill These are suitable references for your topic. A sentence as to why/how you selected would have also been useful. (4/5)

Lab Assessment 4

Spinal cord injury (SCI) may be improved through cellular transplantation and treatments on the cellular level- including macrophage activation, schwann cell and olfactory ensheathing manipulation. Advances in stem cell research, has made it possible to stimulate the differentiation of neurons in SCI cases, in the attempt to improve functional recovery.

It is known that macrophages are involved in the repairing of the central nervous system, particular with the spinal cord. Using rat models, the hind limbs of CSI cases has been able to undergo recovery through macrophage activation- using proinflammatory agent injections. Conversely, the removal or depletion of macrophages, has lead to abnormal white matter being scattered the spinal chord (indicating abnormalities in the repairing process). Phrase II trials of macrophage activations is still undergoing testing.

Similarly, schwaan cells have been transplanted into rat models who have SCI. Results for trials have been mixed and varied- with some trials resulting in hindlimb recovery, while others not so. Human trials for Schwaan cell transplantation has not been conducted yet.

In conclusion, through advances in stem cell research and therapies, SCI may under go functional recovery through further research and testing on the clinical level- including macrophage activation and schwaan cell transplantation. These concepts, however, are still undergoing further clinical testing.


  1. Mao-cheng Wu, Hu Yuan, Kang-jie Li, De-Lai Qiu, Cellular Transplantation-Based Evolving Treatment Options in Spinal Cord Injury, Springer, 2014, Cell Biochemistry and Cell Biophysics, 1559-0283,

--Mark Hill Reasonable stem cell article, reference not cited correctly (3/5)

Lab Assessment 5

Hypertrophic pyloric stenosis (HPR) is the enlargement of the muscles surrounding the pyloric sphincter of the stomach. There is hence a lack of sphincter relaxation and a consequent obstruction for entrance into the stomach. The exact causes of HPR is still unknown and is not well defined in current literature- a unifying etiology for HPR has not been identified. It is known, however, that HPR is related to other genetic abnormalities.

Studies have, however, demonstrated links between HPR and genetic factors. For instance, maternal factors seem to have a higher contribution to the development of HPR as opposed to paternal factors.

It was also previously believed that the NOS1 gene and its lack of expression had genetic contributions to the development of HPR. One group found a link between the condition and NOS1a on chromosome 12q, yet later studies and coding of the gene have revealed no statistical difference from the norm.

Similarly, mutations in the genes MYH11 and GRIN2A were also thought to previously be involved in the development of HPR- for these genes are responsible for the relaxation of smooth muscles. However, like the SLC7A5 related to NO activity; mutations in these genes have not be verified by other sectional studies.

However, in a specific condition of HPS, a strong association between the abnormality and mutations in genes responsible for the transcriptional process have been made (MBNL1, NKX2, NKX3, NKX4, NKX5).

More future research is required to underpin the etiology of HPR.


  1. Giovanni Sarnelli, Alessandra D’Alessandro, Marcella Pesce, Ilaria Palumbo, Rosario Cuomo, Genetic contribution to motility disorders of the upper gastrointestinal tract, World J Gastrointest Pathophysiol. Nov 15, 2013; 4(4): 65–73,

--Mark Hill Reasonable summary of this article, reference not cited correctly (4/5)

Lab Assessment 7

Thyroid development begins as an outgrowth from the pharyngeal floor. The growth of the thyroid has been classified into 3 distinct categories, namely: pre-colloid, colloid and follicular[1]. The pre-colloid stage begins in weeks 7-9 and is characterised by the presence of Thyroid Follicular cell (TFC) precursors, arranged in compact strands. Week 10-11, sees the beginning of the colloid stage where TFC precursors are polarised. At about week 12 of development, the follicular stage of growth ensues- the appearance of small thyroid follicles can be observed. Thyroid hormone synthesis and iodine accumulation become active.

In a recent study, the frequency of thyroid abnormalities, including anti-thyroid auto-antibody abnormalities was evaluated against alopecia areata patients [2] . The study took place between 2007-2011, with 28 patients included- 46 men and 32 woman. All patients were recently diagnosed with alopecia areata- and underwent standardized medical history checks, physical screenings and laboratory testings. These laboratory testing included tests for anti-thryoid auto-antibodies thyroglobulin antibodies and thyroid peroxidase antibodies) and thyroid functional tests (serum levels of thyroxine and TSH)[2].

In this study, 24% of patients were found to have abnormal thyroid function and anthyroid auto-antibodies. Of this, 15% were diagnosed with hypothyroidism and 5% with euthyroid Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Hypothyroidism. The study revealed and highlights the importance of thyroid function screening test for alopecia areata patients, due to this statistically significant association.


  1. <pubmed>24648121</pubmed>
  2. 2.0 2.1 <pubmed>25303421</pubmed>

Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2014) Embryology Endocrine - Thyroid Development. Retrieved October 13, 2014, from

--Mark Hill Very good (5/5)

Lab Assessment 8

It is important to note that the gonads are structurally identical in the male and female until week seven. However, by week 10 the ovaries start to become distinct from the male testes.

Three sources are the embryonic origin of human female ovary. These include the mesothelium, the mesenchyme and the primary undifferentiated germ cells. Primary oocytes, the simple squamous cells and connective tissue stroma of the ovary are derived from the mesothelium.

Development: On the medial side of the mesonephros, mesothelium (and the underlying mesenchyme) develops and proliferates to form the gonadal ridge. Primary sex cords develop from the gonaldal ridge and incorporate primordial germ cells, which are XX in genotype, in these cortical cords. At approximately week 16 of development, these cords become primordial follicles- breaking up to form isolated cell clusters. These primordial follicles have a oogonium that is derived from a primordial germ cell. Further development and mitosis of the oogonia occurs to produce primary oocytes (surrounded by a layer of simple squamous cells) and approximately 2 million in number. This reserve correspondingly depletes with increasing age. The image below depicts a section of an ovary, of a newly born child- development after the stages described above.

Section of the Ovary of a Newly Born Child


Dudek, R.W, Lambert, H.W, Embryology- 5th Edition, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2011

Moore: The Developing Human, 9th ed.

Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2014) Embryology ANAT2341 Lab 8 - Early Embryo. Retrieved October 13, 2014, from

--Mark Hill Reasonable summary, do not use textbook as a source and I only wanted embryonic period of development. Historic image is fine. (3/5)

Lab Assessment 9 (Peer Review)

Group 1

The Introduction of Group 1 is done very well. It is clear, descriptive and very informative. The introduction has been well categorised into categories, with the appropriate choice of labels and subheadings. There is a good choice of pictures and diagrams, which demonstrate a sufficient level research beyond the formal teaching activities. I believe the group could add what they’re page hopes to achieve (outcomes).

The timeline aspect of the group is also well presented. A good choice of histological images would add depth and aid in understanding. The information in this section needs to be referenced correctly.

The current research and findings section is very informative and is referenced excellently. I do believe the layout of this section could be improved, with a better choice of subheadings and clear dates of publication (Its all about recent findings). I believe this section could be summarised further and the picture layout improved to make this section clearer and more succinct. Excellent job nevertheless

The historic section is excellent. It is well referenced, written and explained. It is very informative with an excellent choice of well-described historical images. Particularly enjoyed the timeline on the study of ‘Surfactant’

The abnormalities section has an excellent and varied choice of various abnormalities/diseases. It has an excellent choice of headings and subheadings. The content is also correctly cited and referenced. There is strong evidence of significant scientific research. I do believe the addition of images would further add to the overall understanding of this section. I do believe more information could be added to the ‘Azygos Lobe’, ‘Congenital Laryngeal Webs’ and ‘CHAOS’ section or these sections removed and more content/depth added to the other remaining sections (only a suggestion though!)

Group 2

The introduction of Group 2 is very succinct and straight to the point. I believe it could be improved with clear subheadings- such as ‘Bladder’ or ‘Nephrons’ (only a suggestion though!). I believe the group could add what they’re page hopes to achieve (outcomes).

The timeline/develop section of this project could be improved with a better. Add the table before or after the findings of the research paper. I believe with the table, that it could be better described and more information added to it. There is a good choice of headings though, as it has been clearly classified into distinct time points. The scientific research that accompanies this section also has a very good choice of headings/sub-headings. I do believe that this section could, however, be summarised and added to the table format above. There is excellent referencing and strong evidence of significant scientific research. I believe more recent and varying studies in the “recent research and findings’ section could be included. I also believe this section could be improved with a better layout- with clear, concise headings identifying what these studies found and when. The historic findings section needs to be addressed/included!

The Abnormalities section is excellent. It is informative, with a good choice of abnormalities and appropriate headings/sub-headings. It has a good choice of images and is correctly referenced.

Group 3

I believe more of what the page hopes to achieve could be added to the introduction. These outcomes could add to the overall understanding and experience of the page. Also, remember to at least acknowledge the historical findings, recent findings and abnormalities section in the introduction (just state how this page will attempt to cover those areas- just a suggestion though!)

The development section has an excellent choice of headings and subheadings. There is correct referencing and strong evident of significant scientific research. I do believe however that this section could be summarised with more information presented in a table. There is also an excellent addition of images and hand-drawn diagrams, which adds to the overall understanding of the section. The hand-drawn images clearly display an element of teaching at the peer level and a strong overall understanding.

More recent studies could be added to the ‘recent findings’ section. Only one is currently presented at the moment. It is well explained, correctly referenced and informative though.

I can not find a ‘historical findings’ section?

I believe more abnormalities and deformities could be also added. This section is very informative and correctly referenced. I particularly enjoyed the addition of the hand-drawn diagrams- it was clearly labelled and aided in the overall understanding. Excellent work nevertheless.

Group 4

Don’t forget to add an introduction which clearly lists the outcomes that the page hopes to achieve!

The table in the development section is excellent and very clear and informative. I believe you could summarise the text above and add it to table to improve the presentation. There is a very good choice of categories and headings/subheadings. The information presented is excellent. Remember to just correctly cite the information and improve the overall format of this section.

There is an excellent choice of headings and subheadings in the current research section. It is very informative and demonstrates significant scientific research. I do believe that this section could be summarised or the presentation improved? It is a bit wordy- try to summarise more or present the information in paragraphs/a table? (only a suggestion though). The addition of hand-drawn diagrams was excellent and very admirable

The historic findings section was excellent. There was a very good choice of headings/subheadings. The information provided was very informative and demonstrated significant scientific research. However, it is a bit wordy and would be benefited with summarising the content further. Though the content has been referenced correctly, I believe it could be further enhanced with more references to verify the possible points. The addition of pictures would also benefit. Excellent work nevertheless. Very informative section

The abnormalities section was excellent. A very good choice of headings/subheadings and a good variation of abnormalities included. It was referenced and cited correctly. Demonstrated strong scientific research. Maybe improve this section with the addition of more images? Nevertheless, an excellent, clear and informative section.

Group 6

Just must say, this must be one of the hardest topics to cover! Excellent work overall and continue to work hard in completing and finalising this page. But please don’t forget to add an introduction which clearly lists the outcomes that the page will hope to address

I really believe that this page would greatly benefit by re-structuring the entire layout by the headings suggested to us- ie. Development timeline, recent findings, current research and abnormalities. Seems a bit disjointed and is hard to follow.

Due to the manner in which you guys have subdivided the sections via organs, it is hard to comment and critique via the headings suggested. Some organs have been excellently covered (pancreas, thyroid, parathyroid), however, some organs do need a bit more development (eg. Pineal gland). Also, due to the way you guys have decided to approach this page, the writing styles and presentation of information does have notable differences amongst the oragans.

Overall, there is an excellent choice of headings and subheadings though. There is also excellent and correct citing in most of the sections. However, this page could be greatly benefited by re-structuring the entire page to follow the suggested headings. I really believe that the information and research included in this (hard) topic is excellent and demonstrates significant scientific research, however, the overall structure makes it hard to follow and understand! I believe re-structuring will address a lot of the issues mentioned. But again, excellent work so far in this very hard topic!

Group 7

I believe the introduction of this page is excellent. A good choice of appropriate headings and subheadings. The addition of images would just add to the presentation of the introduction.

The development section of this page is excellent! There is very informative, easy to follow and well-presented. There is clear evidence of significant scientific research and correct referencing. The choice and use of graphs and diagrams is excellent and does indeed add to the overall understanding of this section. I do believe, however, that this section could be included with the use of more tables? (Eg. The first four bolded subheadings)- but this is only a suggestion. Excellent nevertheless. Really enjoyed the ‘Visible anatomical details’ table.

The current research section is a bit lacking in detail and appropriate choice of pictures. There is a good choice of subheadings and references though. The first included study is excellent though and should serve as a benchmark for the other remaining studies.

The historic findings section is not presented on the page yet? I cant seem to find this section on your page.

The abnormalities section is excellent, well presented and well researched. There is a very good use of subheadings and an excellent varying amount of abnormalities/defects included. The use of dot-points is effective, as well as, the accompanying pictures- really aids in understanding. This section, however, needs to be correctly referenced and cited. The other remaining abnormalities should be finalised (although I believe not all of the abnormalities should be discussed in great detail!). Great work, overall.

Group 8

This is great work so far from a group consisting of only 2 people. Keep up the good work and continue to work hard in finishing this page. Very admirable.

Overall, I would suggest reformatting and adding pictures to enhance the presentation of this page. Consider the use of lists and tables, throughout this wiki.

Instead of the rather hilarious (but rather inappropriate) ‘Making gains’ subheading, I believe an introduction should be added. Remember to clearly indicate the outcomes that the page hopes to achieve.

I also believe that the development/timeline section of this page is informative, with a very good use of headings and sub-headings. There is excellent evidence of significant scientific research and is correctly referenced and cited. However, this section could be further summarised or improved through the use of a table I believe- just a suggestion however. Adding pictures would also add to the overall understanding of this section.

This page has no information for the “recent findings” or “historic findings” section. Remember to include relevant information/pictures and references to these sections.

The abnormalities section is also looking very promising. Include more varying abnormalities. The abnormality included, DMD, is well written and informative. It needs to be correctly referenced however.

--Mark Hill Good peer feedback (8/10)