The Language of Embryology
The vocabulary of embryonic development can be difficult to learn. To describe what happens, researchers had to give names to parts of the embryo, and most of these names are unfamiliar words. They were coined at a time when scientists knew and used Latin and Greek, and most of them are derived from a fairly small number of Latin and Greek roots. If you are familiar with some of these roots, then the terms don't seem quite so arbitrary, and you may find it easier to remember them. The following list is not exhaustive, but it should help you decipher some of the terms you will encounter during the course.
You do NOT have to memorize this list!!
|Prefix and/or Suffix||Meaning||Examples|
|Coel- / -coel||Cavity||Coelom, blastocoel|
|cyto- / -cyte||Cell||Cytoskeleton, erythrocyte|
|Derma- / -derm||Layer, skin||Dermatome, mersoderm|
|Karyo- / -karyon||Nucleus (seed)||Karyotype, heterokaryon|
|Kineto- / -kinesis||Movement||Kinetochore, cytokinesis|
|Mero- / -mere||Part||Meroblastic, blastomere|
|Phago- / -phage||Eating, eater||Phagocytosis, macrophage|
|Soma- / -some||Body||Somatic, acrosome|
|Stomo- / -stome||Mouth||Deuterostome|
|Tropho- / -troph / -trophy||Change||Trophoblast, hypertrophy|
This table has been modified from a list made by Bill Wood at the University of Colorado at Boulder.