Embryonic length and cerebral landmarks in staged human embryos

Authors

  • Ronan O'Rahilly,

    1. Carnegie Laboratories of Embryology, California Primate Research Center and Departments of Human Anatomy and Neurology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616
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  • Fabiola Müller

    1. Carnegie Laboratories of Embryology, California Primate Research Center and Departments of Human Anatomy and Neurology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616
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Abstract

The greatest length (GL) and the crown-rump (C-R) length were compared in 43 staged human embryos. It was found that point C, which overlies the middle of the midbrain, was sometimes difficult to locate and that point R is not precise. These disadvantages render the C-R measurement unsatisfactory. At 4 weeks (stage 13) the GL comes to exceed the C-R and continues to do so until about 7 weeks (stages 17–19). The maximum difference is approximately 1.5 mm. Thereafter, the two lengths are basically equal and coincide from about stages 18 and 19 onward. In a series of 100 embryos of stages 19–23, female embryos at stages 21 and 22 were found to be shorter (by a mean of 1 mm) than male embryos, but not at stages 19, 20, and 23. The greatest length, which is independent of fixed points, is much simpler to measure than the C-R length, and it is recommended that it be used instead. It is pointed out that Streeter had already made that substitution. The greatest length has the further advantage of being a practicable measurement from two postovulatory weeks (stage 6) throughout the remainder of the embryonic and also in the fetal period. The lower limbs are excluded from measurement.

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