The study of human embryology has a very long history. Modern embryology owes its initial development to the key embryo collections that began in the 19th century. The first large collection was that of Carnegie, and this was followed later by the major 7 collections. The second role of the Carnegie collection was for researchers to establish a defined set of Carnegie stages based on embryo morphological features. Today, embryos are imaged three-dimensionally (3D) by a range of imaging modalities including, magnetic resonance microscopy (MRM), episcopic fluorescence image capture (EFIC), phase-contrast X-ray computed tomography (pCT), and optical projection tomography (OPT). Historically, embryo serial images were reconstructed using wax-plate and model techniques. The above new 3D imaging techniques now allow 3D computer reconstructions, analysis, and even 3D printing. This chapter will describe how the classical embryology collections and techniques have developed into today’s imaging and analysis techniques, giving new insights to human embryonic development.
Part of the book: New Discoveries in Embryology