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Welcome to The Visible Embryo, a comprehensive educational resource on human development from conception to birth.

The Visible Embryo provides visual references for changes in fetal development throughout pregnancy and can be navigated via fetal development or maternal changes.

The National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development awarded Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovative Research Grants to develop The Visible Embryo in 1993 as a first generation internet teaching tool consolidating human embryology teaching for first year medical students.

Today, The Visible Embryo is linked to over 600 educational institutions and is viewed by more than 1 million visitors each month. The field of early embryology has grown to include the identification of the stem cell as not only critical to organogenesis in the embryo, but equally critical to organ function and repair in the adult human.

The identification and understanding of genetic malfunction, inflammatory responses, and the progression in chronic disease, begins with a grounding in primary cellular and systemic functions manifested in the study of the early embryo.


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The World Health Organization (WHO) has created a new Web site to help researchers, doctors and patients obtain reliable information on high-quality clinical trials. Now you can go to one website and search all registers to identify clinical trial research underway around the world!



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Pregnancy Timeline by SemestersFemale Reproductive SystemFertilizationThe Appearance of SomitesFirst TrimesterSecond TrimesterThird TrimesterFetal liver is producing blood cellsHead may position into pelvisBrain convolutions beginFull TermWhite fat begins to be madeWhite fat begins to be madeHead may position into pelvisImmune system beginningImmune system beginningPeriod of rapid brain growthBrain convolutions beginLungs begin to produce surfactantSensory brain waves begin to activateSensory brain waves begin to activateInner Ear Bones HardenBone marrow starts making blood cellsBone marrow starts making blood cellsBrown fat surrounds lymphatic systemFetal sexual organs visibleFinger and toe prints appearFinger and toe prints appearHeartbeat can be detectedHeartbeat can be detectedBasic Brain Structure in PlaceThe Appearance of SomitesFirst Detectable Brain WavesA Four Chambered HeartBeginning Cerebral HemispheresEnd of Embryonic PeriodEnd of Embryonic PeriodFirst Thin Layer of Skin AppearsThird TrimesterDevelopmental Timeline
Click weeks 0 - 40 and follow fetal growth
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December 4, 2012--------News Archive Return to: News Alerts


"...a low birth weight increases the risk of health problems in adult life."








WHO Child Growth Charts

       

Low Birth Weight Genes Linked to Adult Shortness, Diabetes Risk

An international team of genetics researchers has discovered four new gene regions that contribute to low birth weight. Three of those regions influence adult metabolism, and appear to affect longer-term outcomes such as adult height, risk of type 2 diabetes and adult blood pressure

"This large study adds to the evidence that genes have a strong influence on fetal growth," said one of the co-authors, Struan F.A. Grant, Ph.D., associate director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "The cumulative effect of the genes is surprisingly strong; it's equivalent to the effect of maternal smoking, which is already recognized as lowering a baby's weight at birth. We already know that a low birth weight increases the risk of health problems in adult life."

The article, published today in Nature Genetics, was the second major study on birth weight by the Early Growth Genetics (EGG) Consortium, composed of groups of scientists from multiple countries, including the United Kingdom, Finland, the Netherlands, and the United States. Earlier this year, Grant was the lead investigator of an EGG study—the largest-ever genome-wide study of common childhood obesity—which found two novel gene variants that increase the risk of that condition.

The lead investigator of the current study was Rachel M. Freathy, Ph.D., a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow from the University of Exeter Medical School in the U.K.

The meta-analysis and follow-up study encompassed nearly 70,000 individuals, of European, Arab, Asian and African American descent, from across 50 separate studies of pregnancy and birth. In addition to confirming that three previously discovered genetic regions increased the risk of low birth weight, the consortium discovered four new regions: genes HMGA2, LCORL, ADRB1, and a locus on chromosome 5.


Two of the previously identified gene regions
are connected to a risk of type 2 diabetes,
while two of the newly found regions confer
a risk of shorter adult stature.

A third region, ADRB1, is associated with
adult blood pressure—the first time that
scientists have found a genetic link common
to both birth weight and blood pressure.


The biological mechanisms by which the identified genetic regions function to influence early growth and adult metabolism remain to be discovered, although, said Grant, these regions offer intriguing areas on which to focus follow-up research.

Freathy, the study's lead investigator, summed up the study's findings by saying, "These discoveries give us important clues to the mechanisms responsible for the control of a baby's growth in the womb, and may eventually lead to a better understanding of how to manage growth problems during pregnancy."


"This study demonstrates that genes acting early
in development have important effects on health
both in childhood and beyond.

While we continue to learn more about the
biology, an important implication is that
designing prenatal interventions to improve
birth weight could have lifelong health benefits."

Struan F.A. Grant, Ph.D.,
Associate Director, Applied Genomics
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia


Financial support for this study came from the National Institutes of Health (R01 HD056465), the Wellcome Trust, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, the European Union, the Medical Research Council in the U.K., and the Academy of Finland.

"New loci associated with birth weight identify genetic links between intrauterine growth and adult height and metabolism," Nature Genetics, advance online publication, Dec. 2, 2012. doi:10.1038/ng.2477

About The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking third in National Institutes of Health funding. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 516-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.

Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-12/chop-glt112912.php