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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 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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Home | Pregnancy Timeline | News Alerts | News Archive May 29, 2013

How to donate bone marrow
Dr. Hongbo Luo: "We believe our finding is a major breakthrough in ...long-term reconstitution of the bone marrow environment ... with a specific SHIP inhibitor...."

Image credit: How to Donate Bone Marrow,

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Overcomming hurdles to successful bone marrow transplants

Blood diseases such as leukemia, multiple myeloma, and myelodysplasia can develop from abnormal bone marrow and a dysfunctional bone marrow microenvironment that surrounds those cells. Until now, researchers have been unable to replace cells that make up the bone marrow microenvironment.

Researchers reporting in the May 28 issue of Developmental Cell have found that eliminating a gene in the cells found in this microenvironment causes them to die, therefore enabling donor cells to replace them.

In addition to providing a better understanding of the bone marrow microenvironment, the findings could help improve bone marrow transplant therapy for patients who need one.

Scientists led by Dr. Hongbo Luo of Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital found that mice lacking a gene that codes for an enzyme called SH2-containing inositol-5'-phosphatase-1 (SHIP) could not form a normal bone marrow microenvironment.

But, that transplanted cells from normal mice could reconstitute the microenvironment in the mutant animals.

This microenvironment reconstitution normalized blood cell production in the bone marrow and also corrected defects due to abnormal blood cell production in the spleens and lungs of the SHIP-deficient mice.

Dr. Luo: "We believe our finding is a major breakthrough in the field. Long-term reconstitution of the bone marrow environment can be achieved by treatment with a specific SHIP inhibitor, although it is currently not available yet."

Developmental Cell, Liang et al.: "Deficiency of Lipid Phosphatase SHIP Enables Long-Term Reconstitution of Hematopoietic Inductive Bone Marrow Microenvironment."

Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-05/cp-fmh052213.php

A dysfunctional bone marrow (BM) microenvironment is thought to contribute to the development of hematologic diseases. However, functional replacement of pathologic BM microenvironment through BM transplantation has not been possible. Furthermore, the study of hematopoietic inductive BM microenvironment is hampered by the lack of a functional nonhematopoietic reconstitution system. Here, we show that a deficiency of SH2-containing inositol-5′-phosphatase-1 (SHIP) in a nonhematopoietic host microenvironment enables its functional reconstitution by wild-type donor cells. This microenvironment reconstitution normalizes hematopoiesis in peripheral blood and BM and alleviates pathology of spleen and lung in the SHIP-deficient recipients. SHIP-deficient BM contains a significantly smaller population of multipotent stromal cells with distinct properties, which may contribute to the reconstitution by wild-type cells. We further demonstrate that it is the nonhematopoietic donor cells that are responsible for the reconstitution. Thus, we have established a nonhematopoietic BM microenvironment reconstitution system to functionally study specific cell types in hematopoietic niches.