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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
CLICK ON weeks 0 - 40 and follow along every 2 weeks of fetal development
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Home | Pregnancy Timeline | News Alerts | News Archive July 2, 2013

 
"We've known for a very long time that preventive care among expectant mothers is critical to the health and well-being of their children. Now, we're learning that fathers don't get a free pass.
How they take care of themselves—even before conception—affects the genetic makeup of their children, for better or worse." Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal






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Gene mutations from Dad's lifestyle inheritable for generations

Gene mutations caused by a father's lifestyle can be inherited by his children, even if those mutations occurred before conception.

New research in The FASEB Journal suggests that moderate paternal exposures, such as cigarette smoking, can increase the number of mutations transmitted to their children, and even the next generation


What's more, these findings show that mutations in the sperm and all the cells back to the embryo that gave rise to sperm (the germ-line) are present in all cells of that father's children, including their own germ cells. This means that a father's lifestyle has the potential to affect the DNA of multiple generations and not just his immediate offspring.


"Our study should be regarded as a pilot study. We hope that our findings support the initiation of new, more elaborate studies that investigate the role of daily life exposures on germ-line mutations transmitted to offspring," says Roger Godschalk, Ph.D., researcher, Department of Toxicology and the School for Nutrition, Toxicology and Metabolism, at Maastricht University in the Netherlands

To make this discovery, Godschalk and colleagues looked at two groups of families (father, mother and child) from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. The first group had a low yearly income, whereas the second group had a relatively high yearly income. The investigators chose income as a criterion because it generally correlates to lifestyle choices of the parents.

For instance, fathers in the low income group were more often cigarette smokers than fathers in the high income group. Researchers looked for DNA mutations in the children and found that they were more frequent in the group with low income fathers than in the group of high income fathers. These results suggest that the parents living conditions before conception may directly impact the health of their children.

"We've known for a very long time that preventive care among expectant mothers is critical to the health and well-being of their children," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "Now, we're learning that fathers don't get a free pass. How they take care of themselves—even before conception—affects the genetic makeup of their children, for better or worse."

The FASEB Journal is published by the Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). It is among the most cited biology journals worldwide according to the Institute for Scientific Information and has been recognized by the Special Libraries Association as one of the top 100 most influential biomedical journals of the past century.

FASEB is composed of 26 societies with more than 100,000 members, making it the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States. Our mission is to advance health and welfare by promoting progress and education in biological and biomedical sciences through service to its member societies and through collaborative advocacy.

Joost O. Linschooten, Nicole Verhofstad, Kristine Gutzkow, Ann-Karin Olsen, Carole Yauk, Yvonne Oligschläger, Gunnar Brunborg, Frederik J. van Schooten, and Roger W. L. Godschalk, all participated in the study.

Original press release: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-07/foas-gmc070113.php