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Embryonic Development Abnormalities

Learn more about how researchers are discovering potential causes and treatments for abnormal embryonic development.
2023-01-21

Review of Embryonic Development Abnormalities

Embryology is the study of the development of an embryo from fertilization to birth. This includes the growth and development of an embryo’s organs, tissues, and systems. Abnormalities in this process may lead to serious developmental issues and birth defects. This article will review some of the most common embryonic development abnormalities.

Chromosomal Abnormalities

Chromosomal abnormalities are a common cause of embryonic development abnormalities. These abnormalities can occur due to an abnormal number of chromosomes in the embryo’s cells, or due to structural changes in the chromosomes. Examples of chromosomal abnormalities include Down syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome, and Turner syndrome.

Down syndrome is caused by the presence of an extra copy of chromosome 21. This can lead to developmental delays, physical abnormalities, and an increased risk of certain health conditions. Klinefelter syndrome is caused by an extra X chromosome in males. This can lead to fertility problems, learning difficulties, and physical abnormalities. Turner syndrome is caused by the absence of an X chromosome in females. This can lead to infertility, hearing loss, and heart defects.

Genetic Abnormalities

Genetic abnormalities can also cause developmental abnormalities in embryos. These abnormalities are caused by changes or mutations in a gene or genes. Examples of genetic abnormalities include cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, and sickle cell anemia.

Cystic fibrosis is caused by a mutation in the CFTR gene. This can lead to respiratory and digestive problems, as well as an increased risk of certain infections. Huntington’s disease is caused by a mutation in the HTT gene. This can lead to movement problems, cognitive decline, and an increased risk of certain psychiatric disorders. Sickle cell anemia is caused by a mutation in the HBB gene. This can lead to anemia, pain, and an increased risk of certain infections.

Environmental Abnormalities

Environmental factors can also cause abnormalities in embryonic development. These include exposure to certain drugs, alcohol, and toxins. Examples of environmental abnormalities include fetal alcohol syndrome, fetal growth restriction, and neural tube defects.

Fetal alcohol syndrome is caused by maternal consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. This can lead to physical and cognitive impairment and an increased risk of certain health conditions. Fetal growth restriction is caused by inadequate nutrition or oxygen supply during pregnancy. This can lead to low birth weight and an increased risk of certain health conditions. Neural tube defects are caused by a lack of folate during pregnancy. This can lead to brain and spinal cord abnormalities and an increased risk of certain health conditions.

Conclusion

Embryonic development abnormalities can have serious implications for the health of the embryo and the fetus. Chromosomal, genetic, and environmental abnormalities can all cause these abnormalities. It is important for pregnant women to be aware of these risks and to take steps to reduce their likelihood.

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