Developmental atlas of the early first trimester human embryo

Dev Dyn. 2010 Jun;239(6):1585-95. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.22316.


Rapid advances in medical imaging are facilitating the clinical assessment of first-trimester human embryos at increasingly earlier stages. To obtain data on early human development, we used magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and episcopic fluorescence capture (EFIC) to acquire digital images of human embryos spanning the time of dynamic tissue remodeling and organogenesis (Carnegie stages 13 to 23). These imaging data sets are readily resectioned digitally in arbitrary planes, suitable for rapid high-resolution three-dimensional (3D) observation. Using these imaging datasets, a web-accessible digital Human Embryo Atlas ( was created containing serial 2D images of human embryos in three standard histological planes: sagittal, frontal, and transverse. In addition, annotations and 3D reconstructions were generated for visualizing different anatomical structures. Overall, this Human Embryo Atlas is a unique resource that provides morphologic data of human developmental anatomy that can accelerate basic research investigations into developmental mechanisms that underlie human congenital anomalies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anatomy, Artistic*
  • Atlases as Topic*
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First*