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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. Initally designed to evaluate the internet as a teaching tool for first year medical students, The Visible Embryo is linked to over 600 educational institutions and is viewed by more than one million visitors each month.

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 SemestersFetal 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 HemispheresFemale Reproductive SystemEnd of Embryonic PeriodEnd of Embryonic PeriodFirst Thin Layer of Skin AppearsThird TrimesterSecond TrimesterFirst TrimesterFertilizationDevelopmental Timeline
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April 22, 2013--------News Archive

The Cell Cycle

 

Master regulators, determine the development and distinguish
different cell types from each other.
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Biggest family tree of human cells created by scientists

Cells are the basic unit of a living organism. The human body consists of a vast array of highly specialized cells, such as blood cells, skin cells and neurons. In total more than 250 different cell types exist.

How are the different types related to each other? Which factors are unique for each cell type? And what in the end determines the development of a certain cell?

To answer these questions, the research team at the University of Luxembourg designed a computer-based method that uses already existing biological data from research groups all over the world and analyses them in an entirely new way. This led to the identifications of unique factors for 166 different human cell types.


These factors, or master regulators, determine the development and distinguish different cell types from each other. With this information they could map the relationship between the cell types in a family tree. These outcomes may serve as basis for the development of cell replacement therapies.


"Many diseases, such as Parkinson's disease and diabetes, or extensive burns result in the loss or altered functionality of cells," explains Dr. Merja Heinäniemi, who previously worked at the Life Sciences Research Unit and the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) at the University of Luxembourg. "Ideally one would like to replace those sick or lost cells again by healthy ones to cure the patients. This study forms an important step towards the development of such therapies."

Prof. Rudi Balling, Director of the LCSB, adds: "This study illustrates the increasing importance of computer science for biology and medicine. Only with the help of computers it was possible to analyze these large amounts of biological data to create the first large-scale analysis of cell-type specific master regulators."

The article about this research is titled: "Gene-pair expression signatures reveal lineage control." Written by the following authors: Merja Heinäniemi, Matti Nykter, Roger Kramer, Anke Wienecke-Baldacchino, Lasse Sinkkonen, Joseph Xu Zhou, Richard Kreisberg, Stuart A Kauffman, Sui Huang & Ilya Shmulevich, it appears in the journal Nature Methods March 11, 2013.

Original article: http://wwwen.uni.lu/universite/actualites/a_la_une/new_study_biggest_family
_tree_of_human_cells_created