by John McLachlan, PhD, Peter Ward, PhD

Embryology is the branch of biology that focuses on the study of embryos and their development. In the medical field, this branch narrows to the study of the development of human embryos, with the objective of finding the root causes of congenital abnormalities.

For optimal understanding, the student needs to be familiar with the components of the cell, the cell cycle, cell division, gene expression, genome replication, the differences between diploid and haploid cells, and the process of fertilization. Basic knowledge of human anatomy is also required.

Throughout the development process, a multiplicity of genes and structures interact in a harmonious manner in order to develop a human fetus. This process progresses by stages and requires the expression of the right genes at the right place and the right time.

During development, these processes may be hindered, resulting in structural or functional abnormalities in the fully developed child. There are many examples of abnormalities, such as atrial septal defects (ASD), a communication between the atria caused by nonclosure of the foramen ovale, and syndactyly, the joining of two fingers due to inadequate apoptosis of cells in between the digits when these were differentiating.

In order to make an adequate diagnosis, the competent physician must be aware of the most prevalent genetic abnormalities in his or her area of work, and be familiar with the typical clinical presentation of the most common genetic syndromes.

Course Details

  • Videos 175
  • Duration 15:26 h
  • Quiz questions 331
  • Concept Pages 44


Your Educators of course Embryology

 John McLachlan, PhD

John McLachlan, PhD

Dr. John McLachlan is the Professor of Medical Education at Durham University in England, UK.
He obtained his PhD in Developmental Biology at the University of London. Previously, he was Director of Undergraduate Medicine and Associate Dean of Medicine at Durham University from 2005 to 2016, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of Medical Education journal.
Due to his experience, his work on anatomy pedagogy has influenced anatomy teaching in the five new medical schools that have opened in the UK since Medical Education was first published in 2004.
Within Lecturio, Dr. McLachlan teaches courses on Embryology.

 Peter Ward, PhD

Peter Ward, PhD

Dr. Peter J. Ward is a Professor of Gross Anatomy at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in West Virginia, USA.
He obtained his PhD in Medical Anatomy Education from Purdue University in 2005. Currently, he is a respected teacher and researcher in the fields of anatomy, histology, embryology, neuroscience and approaches to learning and teaching.
Within Lecturio, Dr. Ward teaches courses on Embryology.

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Embryology classes
By Neha V. on 24. December 2021 for Development of the Nervous System, Head, and Neck

Actually embryology is tough and it involves a lot of imagination if we study it on our own it is difficult to visualise but Sir makes the classes very interesting less of a burden and because of the classes I never had difficulty in this zone and this was the subject I didn’t had to look behind to review because once taught by Sir it remains forever . My favourite teacher

By Musiime F. on 11. December 2021 for Embryology: Early Stages with John McLachlan

I love the way Dr. John McLachlan explains the concepts simply , slowly and systematically. Also, his videos are shorter.

Highly recommended!
By Kate A. on 19. November 2021 for Embryology: Early Stages with John McLachlan

Embryology was always one of my least favorite courses as it can be very dry and hard to understand. I found myself watching these videos back to back as Someone was closely following the most dramatic series on TV. Dr. McLachlan's worded the lectures very simple and understandable. You can even see his smile driven from enthusiasm behind some words. Passionate teachers make you excited and interested in subjects and I would like to thank them for that.

Great and easy explanation!
By Lucero A. on 25. August 2021 for Fertilization and Implantation

Very clear explanation, I understood everything quite well. Key concepts.