Embryology is the branch of biology which deals with the principles of the embryos from the stage of ovum fertilization till their development. This includes the developmental process of a single cell, embryo to a baby within an average of 266 days or 9 months. However, the term Embryology usually refers to the parental development of embryo and fetus.
Embryology has become an important research area for studying the and understanding both normal and abnormal development and the importance towards the diseases, mutations and stem cell research.
The process in which the embryo is formed and developed into a fetus. Embryogenesis begins with the fertilization of the ovum by sperm. Therefore the fertilized ovum is referred to as a zygote which undergoes rapid mitotic divisions with no significant growth and cellular differentiation, leading to the development of an embryo.
It is a complex and miraculous process by which a single cell gives rise to a highly developed multicellular human being. A continuous process begins when an oocyte (ovum) is fertilized by a sperm to form a zygote which differentiates into a definitive organ system and thereafter into their early functional stage. Transformation mechanisms include- cell-division, cell migration, apoptosis, differentiation, growth, cell rearrangement.
Understanding embryology is essential for creating healthcare strategies :
- Prenatal diagnosis and surgical treatments
- Therapeutic procedures for infertility
- Mechanisms to prevent birth defects
Duration & Stages of Pregnancy
Human gestation lasts an average of 266 days (38 weeks, 9 months) and is divided into 3-month intervals called trimesters.
1st trimester (1st 3 months: wk 1 – 12) pre embryonic and embryonic development stress, drugs and nutritional deficiencies are most threatening during this time some suggest that “morning sickness” is correlated with this critical period has the evolutionary advantage of making mom less likely to ingest potentially dangerous materials eg. cabbage, Brussel sprouts, potatoes, overcooked meat all contain poisons that could potentially do damage to embryo; eg. coffee contains over 1,000 different toxins
2nd trimester (2nd 3 months: wk 13 – 24) fetal development begins organs complete most of their development
3rd trimester (3rd 3 months: wk 25 – birth) Throughout this stage baby continues to grow and mature. At this stage, baby can stretch itself, kick and followed by other movements. During thirty weeks there is a huge development in baby’s sense organs, fingernails are visible, bones get hardening, formations of red blood cells (RBC) in the bone marrow and finally have shed all the lanugo.
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