Human Developmental Molecular Genetics


Following the sequencing of the human genome, it is an ambitious but realistic goal to understand the genome‐wide molecular regulation of normal human development, both during the embryonic (<56 days post conception (dpc)) and fetal periods (>56 dpc). The use of human pluripotent embryonic cells as far‐sighted transplantation and regeneration strategies to treat human disease is an aspect of this topic.

Keywords: human; embryogenesis; stem cells; developmental biology

Figure 1.

Expression of NKX2‐5 in the developing heart at 41 days postconception. Transverse section through atrioventricular junction showing immunoreactivity of NKX2‐5 (brown staining) within the ventricular and atrial myocardia but not in the atrioventricular endocardial cushions (antibody courtesy of Seigo Izumo). RA: right atrium; LA: left atrium; LV: left ventricle; EC: endocardial cushion.

Figure 2.

Expression of IPF1 within the developing human pancreas at 41 days postconception. Bright‐field immunohistochemistry image counterstained with toluidine blue. Nuclear immunoreactivity to IPF1 is visible within the epithelial cells of the human embryonic pancreas (antibody courtesy of Dr Chris Wright, Vanderbilt University). Dp: dorsal pancreas; m: mesenchyme; bar represents 200 μm.

Figure 3.

Embryoid bodies (EB) of differentiated cells formed from human embryonic germ (EG) cells. (a) Differentiation of EG cells in suspension culture via formation of embryoid bodies. Bar represents 1 mm. (b) Hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining of EB showing heterogeneous structure indicative of cells differentiated toward different cell lineages. Bar represents 100 μm.



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Further Reading

Strachan T, Lindsay S and Wilson DI (eds.) (1997) Molecular Genetics of Early Human Development. Oxford, UK: BIOS Scientific Publishers Ltd.

Web Links UK Human Developmental Biology Resource

Insulin promoter factor 1, homeodomain transcription factor (IPF1); Locus ID: 3651. LocusLink:

NK2 transcription factor related, locus 5 (Drosophila) (NKX2‐5); Locus ID: 1482. LocusLink:

T‐box 5 (TBX5); Locus ID: 6910. LocusLink:‐post/Omim/dispmim?600733

Insulin promoter factor 1, homeodomain transcription factor (IPF1); MIM number: 600733. OMIM:‐post/Omim/dispmim?600584

NK2 transcription factor related, locus 5 (Drosophila) (NKX2‐5); MIM number: 600584. OMIM:‐post/Omim/dispmim?601620

T‐box 5 (TBX5); MIM number: 601620. OMIM:

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Wilson, David Ian, and Hanley, Neil Anthony(Jan 2006) Human Developmental Molecular Genetics. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0005923]