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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 Aug 27, 2013

 

gene.png

This stylized diagram shows a gene in relation to the double
helix structure of DNA and to a chromosome (right).

The chromosome is X-shaped because it is dividing.

Introns are regions often found in eukaryote (in cells containing
a nucleus) genes that are removed in the splicing process
(after the DNA is transcribed into RNA).

Only exons encode for a protein.

This diagram labels a region of only 55 or so bases as a gene—
though in reality, most genes are hundreds of times larger.





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Scientists discover gene controls stem cell self-renewal

Stem cell scientists have discovered the gene GATA3 has a role in how blood stem cells renew themselves. The finding advances the quest to expand these cells for clinical use in bone marrow transplants, a procedure saving thousands of lives every year.

The research, published online today in Nature Immunology, provides an important piece in the puzzle of understanding the mechanisms that govern the blood-stem cell, self-renewal process, says principal investigator Norman Iscove, Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret, University Health Network (UHN). Dr. Iscove is also an investigator at UHN's McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine and a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.

"Researchers have known for a long time that stem cells can increase their numbers in the body through self-renewal; however, it has proven very difficult to establish conditions for self-renewal in the laboratory," says Dr. Iscove. Indeed, he explains, the quest to do so has been a holy grail for stem cell researchers because the very effectiveness, safety and availability of the transplantation procedure depend on the number of stem cells available to transplant.


In the lab and using genetically engineered mice, the Iscove team zeroed in on GATA3 and determined that interfering with its function causes stem cells to increase their self-renewal rate and thereby results in increased numbers of stem cells.

Dr. Iscove expects scientists will be able to use this new information to improve their ability to grow increased numbers of blood stem cells for use in bone marrow transplantation and possibly, gene therapy.


Dr. Iscove's research is a new page in the growing volume of stem cell science that began here in 1961 with the ground-breaking discovery of blood-forming stem cells by Drs. James Till and the late Ernest McCulloch. Their discovery changed the course of cancer research and laid the foundation for bone marrow transplantation in leukemia patients, as well as for many other types of current disease research.

Abstract
The transcription factor GATA-3 is expressed and required for differentiation and function throughout the T lymphocyte lineage. Despite evidence it may also be expressed in multipotent hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), any role for GATA-3 in these cells has remained unclear. Here we found GATA-3 was in the cytoplasm in quiescent long-term stem cells from steady-state bone marrow but relocated to the nucleus when HSCs cycled. Relocation depended on signaling via the mitogen-activated protein kinase p38 and was associated with a diminished capacity for long-term reconstitution after transfer into irradiated mice. Deletion of Gata3 enhanced the repopulating capacity and augmented the self-renewal of long-term HSCs in cell-autonomous fashion without affecting the cell cycle. Our observations position GATA-3 as a regulator of the balance between self-renewal and differentiation in HSCs that acts downstream of the p38 signaling pathway.

The research was funded by the Terry Fox Foundation, the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Stem Cell Network, the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, The Campbell Family Institute for Cancer Research and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term care.

About Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network
The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre has achieved an international reputation as a global leader in the fight against cancer and delivering personalized cancer medicine. The Princess Margaret, one of the top five international cancer research centres, is a member of the University Health Network, which also includes Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. All are research hospitals affiliated with the University of Toronto. For more information, go to http://www.theprincessmargaret.ca or http://www.uhn.ca .

Original press release: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-08/uhn-csd082313.php