AskDefine | Define embryonal

Dictionary Definition

embryonal adj
1 of or relating to an embryo; "the embryonic membrane" [syn: embryonic]
2 of an organism prior to birth or hatching; "in the embryonic stage"; "embryologic development" [syn: embryonic, embryologic]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. embryonic

Related terms

Extensive Definition

An embryo (from Greek: , plural , lit. "that which grows," from en- "in" + bryein "to swell, be full") is a multicellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development, from the time of first cell division until birth, hatching, or germination. In humans, it is called an embryo from the moment of fertilisation until the end of the 8th week, whereafter it is instead called a fetus.


The development of the embryo is called embryogenesis. In organisms that reproduce sexually, once a sperm fertilizes an egg cell, the result is a cell called the zygote that has all the DNA of two parents. The resulting embryo derives 50 percent of its genetic makeup from each parent. In plants, animals, and some protists, the zygote will begin to divide by mitosis to produce a multicellular organism. The result of this process is an embryo.

In animals

In animals, the development of the zygote into an embryo proceeds through specific recognizable stages of blastula, gastrula, and organogenesis. The blastula stage typically features a fluid-filled cavity, the blastocoel, surrounded by a sphere or sheet of cells, also called blastomeres.
  • Plants: In botany, a seed plant embryo is part of a seed, consisting of precursor tissues for the leaves, stem (see hypocotyl), and root (see radicle), as well as one or more cotyledons. Once the embryo begins to germinate — grow out from the seed — it is called a seedling. Plants that do not produce seeds, but do produce an embryo, include the bryophytes and ferns. In these plants, the embryo is a young plant that grows attached to a parental gametophyte.
  • Animals: The embryo of a placental mammal is defined as the organism between the first division of the zygote (a fertilized ovum) until it becomes a fetus. In humans, the embryo is defined as the product of conception from implantation in the uterus through the eighth week of development. An embryo is called a fetus at a more advanced stage of development and up until birth or hatching. In humans, this is from the eighth week of gestation.
embryonal in Arabic: جنين
embryonal in Catalan: Embrió
embryonal in Czech: Embryo
embryonal in Danish: Embryon
embryonal in German: Embryo
embryonal in Estonian: Embrüo
embryonal in Spanish: Embrión
embryonal in Esperanto: Embrio
embryonal in Persian: جنین
embryonal in French: Embryon
embryonal in Galician: Embrión
embryonal in Ido: Embriono
embryonal in Indonesian: Embrio
embryonal in Italian: Embrione
embryonal in Luxembourgish: Embryo
embryonal in Lithuanian: Gemalas
embryonal in Dutch: Embryo
embryonal in Japanese: 胚
embryonal in Norwegian: Embryo
embryonal in Occitan (post 1500): Embrion
embryonal in Polish: Embrion
embryonal in Portuguese: Embrião
embryonal in Russian: Эмбрион
embryonal in Simple English: Embryo
embryonal in Slovak: Embryo
embryonal in Slovenian: Zarodek
embryonal in Serbo-Croatian: Zametak
embryonal in Serbian: Ембрион
embryonal in Finnish: Alkio
embryonal in Swedish: Embryo
embryonal in Turkish: Embriyo
embryonal in Ukrainian: Ембріон
embryonal in Urdu: جنین
embryonal in Chinese: 胚胎
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