Thursday, 24 March 2011, posted by Jeremy Thompson

Book Review: Craniofacial Embryogenetics and Development

Popular PMPH title reviewed in American Association of Anatomists News, Vol 20., Number 1, March 2011
Craniofacial Embryogenetics and Development, 2nd edition
G.H. Sperber, S.M. Sperber & G.D. Guttman, PMPH, 2010, 225 pp, $55.95
Reviewed by: Robert M. Klein, Ph.D., Professor & Associate Dean, Dept. of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Univ. of Kansas Medical Center
The second edition of Craniofacial Embryogenetics and Development is an outstanding addition to the embryological and oral development literature. The authors achieve the difficult goal of integrating the molecular biology of craniofacial development with classical embryology and genetics.
This second edition includes a change in title from Craniofacial Development (1 edition), but more importantly reflects our increased understanding of the molecular and genetic interactions underlying developmental processes. The current title follows a history of outstanding books on craniofacial development by Professor Emeritus Geoffrey H. Sperber with the addition of two new authors for this edition: Steven Sperber and Geoffrey Guttman, a clinical geneticist and anatomist, respectively.
The purpose of this text is to integrate molecular biology, genetics and classical embryology of craniofacial structures for physicians, dentists, allied health professionals, and trainees and educators in those disciplines. It will be an excellent resource for dental educators and graduate students in dental specialty programs. The audience for the text should also include plastic, orofacial, and head and neck surgeons, as well as speech pathologists, audiologists, and other allied health professionals who are part of the medical team that interact with patients who present with anomalies of the craniofacial complex. A thorough understanding of anatomy, embryology, and underlying developmental mechanisms is essential for comprehending the diagnosis, prognosis, and prevention of such developmental anomalies.
The text is divided into two major sections: General Embryology and Craniofacial Development. In the first section, the opening chapters provide a succinct and very accurate description of embryological mechanisms, including an excellent overview of early development. The illustrations, tables, diagrams, and flow charts are invaluable and provide extensive information on cell-cell signaling, growth factors, the chronology of events during the embryonic period, the schema of embryogenesis, and the overall derivatives of the primary germ layers as related to adult head and neck structures.
Subsequent chapters focus on early development of the orofacial complex and the derivation of adult structures from the pharyngeal/branchial apparatus. Throughout those chapters, there is appropriate coverage of normal processes with a focus on anomalies that may occur during development. The section concludes with an introduction to osteogenesis and bone growth in the skeleton of the head and neck.
The second section includes short chapters on development and embryogenetics of the calvaria, cranial bone, facial skeleton, palate, paranasal sinuses, mandible, temporomandibular joint, skull growth, tongue and tonsils, salivary glands, muscle, special sense organs, and the dentition. The last chapter highlights craniofacial disorders with known single gene mutations (authored by Geoffrey Machin). These short, focused, and well-written chapters facilitate access to key information for each craniofacial region with appropriate coverage of the embryogenetics of both normal and abnormal development.
Each chapter follows a logical flow and integrates current understanding of genetic regulation of developmental processes as related to craniofacial structures with possible causes of anomalies. An abundant number of references are provided at the end of each chapter and the glossary and index are very effective for learners at all levels. The figures are well designed and incorporate some classic work, including William Maher’s vascular preparations and appropriate state-of-the-art radiographic images. The illustrations are simple and effective, with adequate use of color to highlight key features.
Access to a website that illustrates the stages of embryonic and fetal development by using 3-dimensional, electronic/computer dissection of the layers of craniofacial tissues and organs is provided with the purchase of this text. Text figures on the website enable readers to zoom in and out of the images. The electronic dissections and video images are beautiful and the labeling allows the learner to rotate, zoom, and “dissect” the embryo to understand the complex relationships between developing orofacial structures. This resource will be very valuable not only to the learner, but also to instructors who should be able to make excellent use of this resource in lecture and other presentations.
This book by Sperber, Sperber, and Guttmann is unique in its focus on the development of the craniofacial complex while integrating the once disparate disciplines of embryology, molecular biology, and genetics. There are only a few minor criticisms of the text. For example, the list of neural crest derivatives includes a few controversial structures that other currently marketed embryology texts do not include. There is a serious attempt to use the terms “anomaly” and dysmorphology rather than “malformation” and “syndrome.” However, the authors are not completely consistent and occasionally slip into the less acceptable terminology. These minor criticisms do not diminish this reviewer’s enthusiasm for this excellent textbook.

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