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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. 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 ' million visitors each month.


WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform
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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Disclaimer: The Visible Embryo web site is provided for your general information only. The information contained on this site should not be treated as a substitute for medical, legal or other professional advice. Neither is The Visible Embryo responsible or liable for the contents of any websites of third parties which are listed on this site.
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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
Click weeks 0 - 40 and follow fetal growth
Google Search artcles published since 2007
 
April 15, 2011--------News Archive

TET1 Crucial to Fetal Development and Cancer
TET1 ensures normal fetal development and is crucial when certain genes need to turn on or off during cell division.

Aging Eggs Key to Miscarriage and Birth Defects
By the time a woman is in her 40s, about half her eggs are probably chromosomally abnormal; for women in their 20s, it's probably about 10 percent.


April 14, 2011--------News Archive

Female Body Basis for Medical Autopsy/Dissection
The female body is at the heart of the development of autopsy and dissection beginning with medical practices from the middle ages.

A Measure of Cell Health - The Length of Telomeres
UCSF scientists report studies showing psychological stress leads to shorter telomeres – the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes. The findings also suggest that exercise may prevent this damage.


April 13, 2011--------News Archive

Air Polution Prenatally Linked to Behavior Problems
Mothers' exposure during pregnancy to pollutants may lead to behavioral problems in their children.

Stress In Pregnancy May Create Obesity in Child
Increasing evidence supports that pregnancies that are physically or psychologically stressed are at higher risk of producing obese offspring.


April 12, 2011--------News Archive

Umbilical Cord Stem Cells Studied for Lupus Therapy
Human umbilical cord blood stem cells found to benefit the treatment of lupus nephritis in mice with systemic lupus erythematosus.

Dopamine Controls Formation of New Brain Cells
The neurotransmitter dopamine acts as a handbreak turning off the production of stem cells forming new neurons in the adult brain.


April 11, 2011--------News Archive

Untangling The Complexity Of The Brain
There are an estimated one hundred billion nerve cells in the brain. Now scientists are moving closer to building a model of these connections and their functions.

New Treatment for Rare Recurrent Fever in Kids
A rare syndrome called periodic fever associated with aphthous stomatitis, pharyngitis and cervical adenitis — or PFAPA — is diagnosed using tools from the Human Genome Project.


WHO Child Growth Charts

In stem cells the TET1 enzyme turns specialised stem cells genes on by removing methyl groups from the genes. In specialised cells, for example liver cells, TET1 is not present and methyl groups will turn off the stem cell genes. Illustration: Kristine Williams.



To ensure normal fetal development and prevent disease, it is crucial that certain genes are turned on or off at the right time during cell division. Researchers in Professor Kristian Helin's group at the University of Copenhagen, have now shown how the TET1 enzyme controls this activity. The results have just been published in the journal Nature.

The complete human genetic code was mapped in 2000. However, it has become clear that the genetic code can only partly answer how an individual develops and is protected against disease.

What is also instrumental is how our genes are controlled - what genes are turned on or off and at what times. This timing is partly regulated by specific enzymes that attach small chemical groups called methyl groups, along our DNA strands.

"The methyl group can turn off the gene that lies in a stretch of DNA where it becomes attached. TET1 is a type of enzyme that can fine tune the signals that control gene activity by changing the methyl groups which thereafter are removed," says Kristian Helin.

"Our most important finding is that TET1 acts like a safe guard and prevents methyl groups being attached to genes that need to be active for normal growth and development of our cells. Crucial for normal fetal development for example" PhD student Kristine Williams.

Selected genes also need to be active in our stem cells before those cells can become specialized to one of the more than 200 cell types that exist in our body. Other genes need only be active in very specific cells - for example liver, muscle or nerve cells.

The research results also contribute to our understanding of what goes wrong when some cells accidently develop into cancer cells. The functions of our body are dependent on constant cellular renewal through the division of cells. A large, interconnected cellular machinery ensures that our DNA is intact and copied correctly when our cells divide, crucial for their normal development and function. In a worst case scenario, changes in the DNA, so called mutations, can result in the development of cancer.

Some specialised genes act as tumor suppressors and are especially important for fighting cancer: "If methyl groups are deployed to genes that are usually active in normal cells, the genes are turned off and this can be detrimental. If it happens to tumor suppressor genes, it can be a step towards cancer development as the genes no longer can protect against unintended cell growth," Kristian Helin.

So TET1 fights cancers by controlling the activity and protective function of tumor suppressor genes. Our cells also contain a close relative to TET1, the TET2 enzyme, which is the most frequently mutated gene in blood cancers. BRIC researches have discovered that TET2 also controls gene activity by facilitating removal of methyl groups from DNA.

The scientists are currently extending their research to cellular models for cancer development. Results will supply insight into the mechanisms leading to blood cancers and can potentially lead to development of new therapies.

Original article: http://news.ku.dk/all_news/2011/2011.4/stem_cells_cancer_bric_nature/

Published paper: "TET1 and hydroxymethylcytosine in transcription and DNA methylation fidelity", Williams et al., Nature April 13, 2011

Biotech Research and Innovation Centre (BRIC) is a research center at University of Copenhagen.