A Biological Definition of the Human Embryo

  • Maureen L. CondicEmail author
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 111)


Attempts to define what an embryo is and when it comes into being face significant challenges due to the complexity of human development. Unlike mature humans, embryos are constantly in flux, with their composition and form changing dramatically over time. No obvious property or action defines an embryo at all stages of development.


Human Embryo Human Organism Inner Cell Mass Biological Entity Epigenetic State 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author thanks Thomas Berg and Christian Brugger for critical comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by a grant from the NIH, R01NS048382.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurobiology and AnatomyUniversity of Utah School of MedicineSalt Lake CityUSA

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