EDUCATION: Bend Me, Shape Me

Science  19 Apr 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5567, pp. 435
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5567.435a

About 5 weeks after conception, we all looked a lot like an 11-day-old mouse embryo, right down to the flippers and segmented tail. Students who need to know the intricacies of how we go from fins to fingers may want to visit this clear, thorough guide to normal and abnormal mammalian development. Embryologist Kathy Sulik and radiologist Peter Bream of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, began putting together the illustrated, nine-unit tutorial 8 years ago. In sequences of labeled electron micrographs and animations, the eyes, ears, heart, and other structures sprout and take shape. Watch a furrow on the embryo's back close to form the spinal cord. Or follow limb formation from the first bulge of tissue along the embryo's flank to fins to the disappearance of the webbing between the fingers. Helpful bells and whistles include illustrations from Langman's Medical Embryology.

www.med.unc.edu/embryo_images

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