The Avian Embryo
1. Origins of Avian Embryology
The major advantage of the avian embryo for the embryologist is its accessibility for manipulation and observation. Indeed, it is for this reason that, historically, detailed descriptions of normal development were first available for avian embryos, generally chick embryos (1). Artificial incubation and hatching of chicken eggs date to the time of the 18th dynasty in Egypt (ca. 1400 bc) and possibly even earlier in ancient China. The Egyptian practice of egg incubation is well documented in Roman literature, including references by Pliny, Diodorus Siculus, and in the letters of Emperor Hadrian. However, artificial incubation was lost throughout the Middle Ages and revived only during the 18th century. The first recorded observations of avian embryos are included in the works attributed to Hippocrates (ca. 430 bc), although it was Aristotle who provided the first significant observations (Historia Animalium and De Genera-tione Animalium, ca. 350 bc)....
KeywordsChick Embryo Germinal Vesicle Neural Plate Primitive Streak Shell Membrane
Research in the author's laboratory is supported the MRC, BBSRC, and the Wellcome Trust; and he is a research fellow of the Leverhulme Trust.
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