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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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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
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December 5, 2012--------News Archive Return to: News Alerts


About 500 million years ago, genes for the brain began to double in early
invertebrates, thus enabling invertebrates to have more complex thought patterns.








WHO Child Growth Charts

       

Origin of Intelligence and Mental Illness Linked to Ancient Genetic Accident

Scientists begin to piece together a theory of how reason and intelligence evolved beginning 500 million years ago


At some point 500 million years ago
invertebrates' ability to learn complex skills,
analyse situations and have flexibility in
their way of thinking, began to evolve.


Professor Seth Grant, of the University of Edinburgh, who led the research, said: "One of the greatest scientific problems is to explain how intelligence and complex behaviours arose during evolution."

The research, which is detailed in two papers in Nature Neuroscience, also shows a direct link between the evolution of behaviour and the origins of brain diseases.


Scientists believe that the same genes
that improved our mental capacity
are also responsible for a
number of brain disorders.


"This ground breaking work has implications for how we understand the emergence of psychiatric disorders and will offer new avenues for the development of new treatments," said John Williams, Head of Neuroscience and Mental Health at the Wellcome Trust, one of the study funders.


The researchers suggest that a simple invertebrate
animal living in the sea 500 million years ago
experienced a 'genetic accident,' which resulted in
extra copies of a particular set of genes being made.

This animal's descendants benefited from these
extra genes, eventually leading to behaviourally
sophisticated vertebrates – including humans.

The research team studied the mental abilities of mice and humans, using comparative tasks that involved identifying objects on touch-screen computers. Researchers then combined results of these behavioural tests with information from the genetic codes of various species to work out when different behaviours evolved.

They found that higher mental functions in humans and mice were controlled by the same genes.

The study also showed that when these genes were mutated or damaged, they impaired higher mental functions.


"Our work shows that the price of higher
intelligence and more complex behaviours
is more mental illness."


Professor Seth Grant
University of Edinburgh


The researchers had previously shown
that more than 100 childhood and adult brain
diseases are caused by gene mutations.


"We can now apply genetics and behavioural testing to help patients with these diseases," said Dr Tim Bussey from Cambridge University, which was also involved in the study.

The study was funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council and European Union.

Original article: http://www.ed.ac.uk/news/2012/intelligence-031212