Research Article

An interactive three-dimensional digital atlas and quantitative database of human development

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Science  25 Nov 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6315, aag0053
DOI: 10.1126/science.aag0053

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  • RE:
    • J. Calvin Coffey, Professor of Surgery, University of Limerick
    • Other Contributors:
      • Kevin Byrnes, Academic Fellow, University of Limerick
      • Colin Peirce, Consultant Surgeon, University Hospital Limerick
      • Aoife Lowery, Associate Professor of Surgery, University of Limerick

    In their research article “An interactive three-dimensional digital atlas and quantitative database of human development.” (November 25) de Bakker et al. demonstrated that in several circumstances our interpretation of human embryology is based on outdated models and thus erroneous (1). In addressing this problem, they generated atlases depicting valid models of human embryology. Their observations are timely as interpretation of the anatomy of the mesenteric organ has also been reshaped and led to a novel anatomic frame of reference (2). The updated mesenteric frame of reference applies universally and provides a foundation for the development of mesenteric science in general (3).
    The mesenteric organ is now understood to fan out from a start point at the superior mesenteric root region and end at the mesorectum. In between, it continuously spans the intestine with which it intersects along at least 2 metres (4). It is stacked within the abdomen in a spiral conformation that is unique to higher order species. This counters the effects of gravity on the intestine and mesentery when humans adopt an upright posture (3).
    The new mesenteric frame of reference represents an anatomic endpoint toward which embryologists are reorienting their appraisal of mesenteric developmental processes. Whilst this is not directly addressed by de Bakker et al, it would provide an intriguing challenge for their process. It is feasible that the approach adopted by de Bakker et...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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