The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 62: 43 - 48 (2018)

Vol 62, Issue 1-2-3

Special Issue: The Chick Embryo Model System

Staging tables for avian embryos: a little history

Published: 14 March 2018

Claudio D. Stern*

Department of Cell & Developmental Biology, University College London, London, UK


Absolute time elapsed since fertilization, or hours’ incubation, is not a good measure of the precise degree of development of an embryo because there is considerable variation. The chick embryo benefits from a detailed, well defined staging system introduced by Hamburger and Hamilton in 1951, perhaps the most precise and detailed available for any species. This paper briefly reviews the background and legacy of this table, including the remarkable work of its predecessors, Mathias Duval and Franz Keibel. It also begs the question of why the mouse embryo still lacks a similarly precise classification.


Hamburger and Hamilton, chick embryo, quail embryo, staging system, developmental time, chronology

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