Development Gone Awry

The process by which a single cell−the fertilized ovum−becomes a fully formed and functional infant is one of the marvels of life. Its course−involving cellular proliferation and differentiation, tissue twisting and folding, cell cluster expansion and regression−is complex almost beyond comprehension. This exhibit illustrates some of the anomalies that occur when this process goes awry.

Descriptions of the relevant normal developmental stages as well as explanations of the pathogenesis of the anomalies can be found in the accompanying handbook or on the Museum website (QR images). The embryological descriptions are illustrated by diagrams reproduced from former McGill professor Jan Langman’s Textbook of Embryology and by a number of Adolf Ziegler wax models purchased by the McGill Anatomy Museum in the early 1900s.

Many of the cardiac specimens come from the personal collection of Maude Abbott, Curator of the Museum in the early 1900s and author of the groundbreaking Atlas of Congenital Cardiac Disease.

Rick Fraser
Véronique Lefrancois
Lily Martin
Joan O’Malley
Sadig Niftullayev