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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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News Alerts  May 9, 2013--------News Archive

 
The Geography of Recent Genetic Ancestry across Europe
These maps show where the distant cousins of modern-day people in the United Kingdom live, (top being most recent). Bigger circles mean more ancestors- numbers give average number of shared genetic ancestors. Further back in time, the more widespread the shared ancestors.

(Peter Ralph/ USC and Graham Coop/UC Davis)





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One big European family!

From Ireland to the Balkans, Europeans are basically one big family, closely related to one another for the past thousand years, according to a new study of the DNA of people from across the continent.

The study, co-authored by Graham Coop, a professor of evolution and ecology at the University of California, Davis, is published May 7 in the journal PLoS Biology.

Coop: "What’s remarkable about this is how closely everyone is related to each other. On a genealogical level, everyone in Europe traces back to nearly the same set of ancestors only a thousand years ago."

"This was predicted in theory over a decade ago, and we now have concrete evidence from DNA data," Coop said, adding that such close kinship likely exists in other parts of the world as well.

Coop and co-author Peter Ralph, now a professor at the University of Southern California, set out to study relatedness among Europeans in recent history, up to about 3,000 years ago. Drawing on the Population Reference Sample (POPRES) database, a resource for population and genetics research, they compared genetic sequences from more than 2,000 individuals.


As expected, Coop and Ralph found that the degree of genetic relatedness between two people tends to be smaller the farther apart they live. But even a pair of individuals who live as far apart as the United Kingdom and Turkey — a distance of some 2,000 miles — likely are related to all of one another's ancestors from a thousand years ago.


Subtle local differences, which likely mark demographic shifts and historic migrations, exist on top of this underlying kinship, Ralph said. Barriers like mountain ranges and linguistic differences have also slightly reduced relatedness among regions.

Coop noted, however, that these are all relatively small differences.

"The overall picture is that everybody is related, and we are looking at only subtle differences between regions," he said.

To learn about these patterns, Ralph and Coop used ideas about the expected amount of genome shared between relatives of varying degrees of relatedness. For example, first cousins have grandparents in common and share long stretches of DNA.

Ralph and Coop looked for shorter blocks of DNA that were shared between cousins separated by many more generations.


Because the number of ancestors doubles with every generation, the chance of having identical DNA in common with more distant relatives quickly drops. But in large samples, rare cases of distant sharing could be detected. With their analysis, Coop and Ralph were able to detect these shared blocks of DNA in individuals spread across Europe, and calculate how long ago they shared an ancestor.


Coop and Ralph hope to continue the work with larger and more detailed databases, including much finer-resolution data on where individuals lived within a country.

However, Coop noted that while studies of genetic ancestry can shed light on history, they do not tell the whole story. Archaeology and linguistics also provide important information about how cultures and societies move and change.

"These studies need to proceed hand in hand, to form a much fuller picture of history," Coop said.

About UC Davis
For more than 100 years, UC Davis has engaged in teaching, research and public service that matter to California and transform the world. Located close to the state capital, UC Davis has more than 33,000 students, more than 2,500 faculty and more than 21,000 staff, an annual research budget of nearly $750 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and more than 100 undergraduate majors in four colleges — Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science. It also houses six professional schools — Education, Law, Management, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.

Additional information:
Coop lab: Q&A about ancestry and genetics
Media contact(s):

Graham Coop, Evolution and Ecology, (530) 752-1622, gmcoop@ucdavis.edu
Andy Fell, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-4533, ahfell@ucdavis.edu

Original article: http://news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=10557