School of Medicine
University of Patras
>University of Patras
Undergraduate Courses


Semester 2nd ()

Hours 1(lect.) 1(lab.)



Course Type
Basic Knowledge
Prerequisite Courses
Teaching and Assessment Language
The Course is Offered to Erasmus Students
Course Webpage (url)

Learning Outcomes

1. Overview of Human Embryology.

2. Molecular basis of Embryonic Development.

3. Gametogenesis. Conversion of Germ Cells Into Male and Female Gametes.

  • Primordial germ cells.
  • Mitotic divisions increase the number of primordial stem cells (mitosis).
  • Reduction of the number of chromosomes (Meiosis).
  • The biological significance of meiosis.
  • Meiosis in females and males.
  • Structural and functional maturation of gametes.
  • Spermatogenesis.
  • Spermiogenesis.
  • Activation.
  • Oogenesis.
  • Clinical correlations - Clinical problems to solve.

4. First Week of Development, Ovulation to implantation.

  • Ovarian Cycle.
  • Ovulation.
  • Oocyte Transport.
  • Fertilization.
  • Cleavage.
  • Blastocyst Formation.
  • Embryo transport.
  • Implantation.
  • Uterus at Time of Implantation.
  • Clinical correlations - Clinical problems to solve.

5. Second week of development – bilaminar Germ Disk.

  • Trophoblast has differentiated in two layers: cytotrophoblast and syncytiotrophoblast.
  • Embryoblast has differentiated into two layers: hypoblast and epiblast layer.
  • Establishment of the uteroplacenta circulation and primary villi.
  • Formatin of extraembryonic mesoderm, connecting stalk, yolk sac, amniotic and chorionic cavity.
  • Sites of blastocyst impantation.
  • Abnormal implantation sites.
  • Clinical correlations - Clinical problems to solve.

6. Third week of development: Trilaminar Germ Disk.

  • Gastrulation - formation all three germ layers.
  • The formation and the role of the primitive streak and the primitive node.
  • The formation and the role of the notochord.
  • Establishment of the body axes.
  • The prechordal plate, the oropharyngeal and the cloacal membrane.
  • The allantois.
  • The formation of neural plate and the neural tube.
  • The formation of neural crest.
  • The first appearance of somites.
  • The development of intraembryonic coelom.
  • The appearance of vascular system (vasculogenesis).
  • Further development of trophoblast and the newly formed structures are known as secondary and tertiary villi.
  • Clinical correlations - Clinical problems to solve.

7. Third to Eighth weeks of human development (the embryonic period or period of organogenesis). Phases of embryonic development (growth, morphogenesis, differentiation).


  • Folding of the Embryo in the median plane and in the Horizontal plane.
  • Derivates of the Ectodermal Germ Layer, Derivates of the Mesodermal Germ Layer, Derivates of the Endodermal Germ layer.
  • Control of embryonic development.
  • Highlights of Fourth to Eight Week.
  • Estimation of embryonic Age.
  • Clinical correlations - Clinical problems to solve.

8. Third month to birth: The fetus.

  • Maturation of tissue and organs and rapid growth of the body.
  • During the third month the face becomes more human looking. Primary ossification centres are present in the long bones and skull by the 12th week. Also by the 12th week external genitalia develop to such a degree that the sex of the fetus can be determined by ultrasound.
  • During the fourth and fifth month the fetus lengthens rapidly and is covered with fine hair called lanugo.
  • During fifth month movements of the fetus can be felt by the mother.
  • Time of Birth.
  • Premature and Post mature Fetuses.
  • Clinical correlations - Clinical problems to solve.

9. Body Cavities.

  • Formation of Intaembryonic Cavity.
  • Serous Membranes.
  • Diaphragm and Thoracic Cavity.
  • Formation of the Diaphragm.
  • Clinical Correlations - Clinical problems to solve.

10. Fetal Membranes and placenta.

  • The formation of placenta - changes in the Trophoblast.
  • The formation of placenta - changes in the functional layer of the endometrium - Decidua (decidua basalis, decidua parietalis, decidua capsularis).
  • Structure of the placenta (feta portion - maternal portion - chorionic plate - decidual plate -decidual septa).
  • Circulation of the placenta - the placental membrane.
  • Function of the placenta (1. Exchange of metabolic and gaseous products between maternal and fetal bloodstreams 2. Production of hormones).
  • Amnion and umbilical cord.
  • Amniotic fluid.
  • Fetal membranes in twins.
  • Clinical Correlations - Clinical problems to solve.

11. Birth defects - congenital malformations.

  • Type of abnormalities.
  • Environmental factors.
  • Genetic factors.

12. Prenatal diagnosis.

  • Ultrasound.
  • Maternal serum screening.
  • Amniocentesis.
  • Chorionic villi sampling

13. Skeletal System.

  • Develops from paraxial, lateral plate mesoderm and from neural crest.
  • Paraxial mesoderm – somites.
  • Somites - sclerotome – dermatomyotome.
  • Bone formation through Intramembranous ossification and endochondral ossification.
  • Cartilage formation.
  • Development of joints (Fibrous Joints, Cartilaginous Joints, Synovial Joints), Development of Vertebral Column, Development of ribs, Development of the Sternum, Development of Cranium.
  • Congenital Skeletal System Defects.
  • Clinical Correlations - Clinical problems to solve.

14. Muscular System.

  • Development of Skeletal Muscle, Development of Smooth Muscle Development of Cardiac Muscle.
  • Molecular regulation of Muscle development.
  • Clinical Correlations - Clinical problems to solve.

15. Development of Limbs.

  • Early Stages of Limb development.
  • Final stages of Limb Development.
  • Cutaneous Innervation of Limbs.
  • Blood Supply of Limbs.
  • Congenital Limp Development Defects.
  • Clinical Correlations - Clinical problems to solve.

Teaching and Learning Methods - Αssessment

Teaching Method

Lectures, face to face.

Use of Information and Communication Technologies

Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) (e.g. powerpoint, videos, virtual microscopy) in teaching.

Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) (e.g. powerpoint) in teacher-student communication

The lectures content of the course for each chapter are uploaded on the internet (e-class) , in the form of a series of ppt files, where from the students can freely download them using a password which is provided to them at the beginning of the course.

Teaching Organization

Activity Semester Workload
Lectures 14
Hours of private study 11
Total number of hours for the Course (25 hours of work-load per ECTS credit) 25 hours (total student work-load)


Student Assessment

Embryology I Written examination in Greek at the end of the semester (multiple choice questions, true-false, short answers, clinical problem solving, identification of structures in photos )
Minimum passing grade:  5 .

The examination documents are retained for 5 years and are readily available to students.



Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course the student will have acquired:

  1. Understanding and thorough knowledge of the morphologic (descriptive), molecular, genetic, cellular and tissue events underlying normal human embryology from the egg stage to birth ( how tissue, organs and the body as a whole is assembled from a single cell -the zygote) focusing on the processes of gametogenesis, fertilization, cleavage, gastrulation, formation fa-tube within a tube body plan, structure and function of the placenta.
  2. Understanding and thorough knowledge of the birth defects/congenital malformations
  3. A logical framework for understanding human anatomy
  4. The ability to integrate the information and knowledge obtained from the Embryology I course with information from other basic scientific fields and courses (biochemistry, human biology and genetics, physiology)
  5. The ability to apply this knowledge in order to understand mechanisms of human disease.
  6. The appropriate background information and knowledge that bridges basic science to clinical science (obstetrics, pediatrics etc)
  7. The ability to analyze and synthesize acquired knowledge with clinical information in certain clinical problem settings (Problem-Based Learning)

General Abilities

Generally, by the end of this course the student will, furthermore, have develop the following general abilities (from the list above):

Searching, analysis and synthesis of facts and information, as well as using the necessary technologies

Adaptation to new situations

Decision making

Autonomous (Independent) work

Group work

Exercise of criticism and self-criticism

Promotion of free, creative and inductive thinking

Reading Material

  1. Developing Human: Clinically oriented embryology. Moore Keith L., Persaud T.V.N. Broken Hill Publishers Ltd . First edition, 2009
  2. Human Embryology and Developmental Anatomy Carlson. Publisher: Books Parisianou. 4th edition. 2013 .