Embryology: Discover the genetics of limb development

Time to complete course: 30 min.

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About Embryology: Discover the genetics of limb development Virtual Lab Simulation

What determines whether a body grows an arm or a leg? In the Embryology simulation, you will learn how to window a chicken egg and decipher the Hamburger-Hamilton stages of chick embryonic development using a light microscope. Supplement your observations with Next Generation Sequencing of mice embryos to pinpoint the genes involved in limb development. 

Investigate a family’s genetic condition

In this simulation, you will first uncover the basis of a patient’s inherited genetic condition. Begin by identifying common and specific genes involved in hindlimb and forelimb development using Next Generation Sequencing of mouse limb bud RNA. You will then make an educated hypothesis about which gene is mutated in Liebenberg Syndrome based on the phenotype. 

Experiment with Embryonic Development

To understand and analyze the different stages of embryonic development, you will learn how to incubate chicken eggs and window them at different times to observe morphological changes. Observe the various stages of embryonic development by using a light microscope, and view and compare larger-than-life 3D models of chick embryos at different Hamburger-Hamilton stages of development. 

Next, compare the morphological and genetic similarities between model organisms and human embryonic development: what are the evolutionary reasons for similarities between embryonic development in animals? To better understand these similarities, you will perform a mouse limb bud dissection in preparation for measuring the gene expression levels in different tissues throughout development.  Analyze multiple types of Next Generation Sequencing data output to hypothesize the impact of over- or under-expression of different genes involved in limb development. 

Compare Genetic Expression Levels

Use Next-Generation Sequencing to determine RNA expression levels of healthy subjects and predict the effects of incorrect gene expression levels on limb development. Will you be able to figure out which genetic mutations affect limb development in Liebenberg Syndrome?

Get Started Now

Dissect chicken and mouse embryos to visualize and analyze embryonic development. Compare genetic results from the model organisms with the genetic laboratory results from a human case study to determine the cause and effect of Liebenberg Syndrome.

Techniques in Lab

  • Chicken egg windowing
  • Limb bud dissection
  • Light microscopy
  • Next-generation sequencing

Learning Objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to…

  • Window a chicken egg
  • Dissect a limb bud
  • Identify different Hamilton-Hamburger stages of chick development
  • Analyze Next-Generation Sequencing data

Simulation Features

Length – 30 minutes
Accessibility mode – Available
Languages – English

Examples of Related Standards


Life Sciences related 2nd-3rd year onwards




Topic 3: Genetics
Too high level for 6.6 Hormones, homeostasis and reproduction


Topic 6.8: Biotechnology

Screenshots of Embryology: Discover the genetics of limb development Virtual Lab Simulation


Prof. Brian Harfe

Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
University of Florida
Emma Brady

Emma Brady

Senior Instructional Designer
UF Online

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