A team of Dutch embryologists has produced an unprecedented three-dimensional atlas demonstrating how the unborn child develops in the first eight weeks of life.
“Everyone thinks we already know this, but I believe we know more about the moon than about our own development,” Bernadette de Bakker, of the University of Amsterdam, who co-led the project with Professor Antoon Moorman told the Guardian.
Textbooks illustrations of fetal development still often rely on decades-old observations, or inferences made from studies of mice or chicken embryos, noted de Bakker.
It took the University of Amsterdam team over 45,000 hours to meticulously map the development of the unborn child, during which time embryologists supervised more than 75 students who analyzed over 15,000 tissue screens from the US-based Carnegie Collection of Embryos.
That collection, begun in 1913, has a number of human embryos dating from some 60 to 100 years ago, which were collected during procedures such as hysterectomies, reported the Guardian.
The results of the project are “14 interactive three-dimensional models of human embryology and a database encompassing 34 embryos spanning the first 2 months of human development,” according to a synopsis in Science Magazine.
The embryo atlas will allow scientists to research, among other things, the development of congenital “malformations…which have an incidence of 3% in the human population and cause up to one-quarter of all neonatal deaths,” it noted.
The 3D Atlas of Human Embryology can be viewed here.
READ MORE: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/3d-interactive-embryo-atlas-gives-never-before-seen-detail-of-unborn-baby
Detailed human embryo development revealed in three-dimensional ‘atlas’
Stuff co.nz 29 November 2016
A new three-dimensional “atlas” of human embryonic development shows the early stages of growth in stunning detail.
A team of researchers from the Academic Medical Centre in the Netherlands created interactive modelling software to study the early stages of human development from conception to two months.
The digital model and the resulting atlas offers embryologists and researchers a searchable glimpse into the first eight weeks of development in the human womb.
University of Otago department of anatomy lecturer and stem cell researcher Dr Tim Hore said the medical establishment was only just beginning to understand human development, for the simple reason human embryos were rarely available for scientific study and available collections were difficult to access.
Hore studies the first two weeks of human development, about which little is known. Science was constantly interrogating previous findings and many textbooks struggled to keep pace with developments, he said.
From a teaching perspective, computer modelling was welcome as many of the foundations of embryology were based on a small number of old collections.
“This is really helpful. People like us who teach development, we’re constantly having to update all of our stuff to keep pace with these new developments and refinements and how we understand human development. There are a lot of areas of science where text books are not keeping pace.
“It’s a very exciting time for embryologists.
“My research interests are even earlier in development than those discussed in this paper and although we know quite a lot from IVF clinics about what happens immediately after fertilisation, there is a big black hole of understanding regarding the events beyond this.
“Moreover, we are only just beginning to benefit from the power of computational modelling when it comes to these early events in human development, and this study is a powerful example of the gains that can be made.”
READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/science/86974307/detailed-human-embryo-development-revealed-in-threedimensional-atlas