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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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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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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 Sep 24, 2013

 

The human genome contains over 3 billion base pairs organized into chromosomes. Scientists have identified about 1.4 million locations where single-base DNA differences (SNPs) occur in humans. Methods to identify rare sub-populations of cells such as those found in tumors, will further help our understanding of the survival and progression of cancers, as well as provide valuable information regarding human development.

Additional reading: Homologous Frontier in Bioinformatics





WHO Child Growth Charts

 

 

 

A boost for cellular profiling

A new method for analyzing gene expression in single cells opens a window into tumors and other tissues.

A team of researchers affiliated with Ludwig Cancer Research and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden report in the current issue of Nature Methods a dramatically improved technique for analyzing the genes expressed within a single cell — a capability of relevance to everything from basic research to future cancer diagnostics.


"There are cells in tumors and in healthy tissues that are not present in sufficient numbers to permit analysis using anything but single-cell methods. This method allows us to identify rare and important subpopulations of cells in all sorts of tissues.

We can also use it to tease apart, more rigorously than ever before, how the expression of unique suites of genes transform cells from one state to another as, say, an embryo develops into an organism, or a tumor becomes metastatic."

Rickard Sandberg, PhD, senior author


Traditional approaches, which depend on the collective analysis of gene expression in millions of cells at once, tend to obscure biologically significant differences in the genes expressed by specialized cells within a particular kind of tissue. Single-cell analysis of gene expression overcomes this limitation. The leading method for such analysis — Smart-seq — was developed in 2012 by the biotechnology firm Illumina, together with Sandberg's laboratory.

To develop the new technique, named Smart-seq2, Sandberg's team conducted more than 450 experiments to improve upon their initial method.


The new procedure consistently captures three to four times as many RNA molecules, which often translates into 2,000 more genes per cell than current methods allow.

It also captures far more full-length gene sequences, a steep challenge in such studies, which often capture only partial sequences of expressed genes.

This will permit researchers to conduct a more granular analysis of how subtle differences between the same genes in different people — known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (or SNPs) — contribute to differences in biology and disease.


The new method is likely to be of great value to cancer research. Identifying rare sub-populations of cells in tumors and understanding their role in the survival and progression of cancers can provide invaluable information for the development of diagnostics and targeted therapies.

A study recently published by Ludwig researchers described, for example, how certain subpopulations of cells in melanomas can be pushed into a drug-susceptible state and then destroyed by chemotherapy. More of such strategies might be devised as researchers get a better handle on the cellular species found in different types of tumors, and the patterns of gene expression that define them.

Because Smart-seq2 relies on off-the-shelf reagents, it costs roughly a twentieth as much as the commercialized kit, which should allow researchers to conduct sophisticated analyses of single cells on a much larger scale. It can also be improved further by the scientific community, since its constituent components and rationale are both open to the public.

Armed with the more effective and affordable Smart-seq2, Sandberg's lab is now moving ahead on projects that require a large-scale, single-cell gene expression analysis.

"Now all researchers can do their own single-cell gene expression analysis by buying the components of the process described in this paper and assembling their own kits," says Sandberg.

Summary
Single-cell gene expression analyses hold promise for characterizing cellular heterogeneity, but current methods compromise on either the coverage, the sensitivity or the throughput. Here, we introduce Smart-seq2 with improved reverse transcription, template switching and preamplification to increase both yield and length of cDNA libraries generated from individual cells. Smart-seq2 transcriptome libraries have improved detection, coverage, bias and accuracy compared to Smart-seq libraries and are generated with off-the-shelf reagents at lower cost.

Rickard Sandberg is an assistant member at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and associate professor and principal investigator at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Karolinska Institutet. This study was funded with grants from the European Research Council, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, and the Swedish Research Council. For more information on Sandberg's research, please click here: http://www.ludwigcancerresearch.org/location/stockholm-branch/rickard-sandberg-lab.

About Ludwig Cancer Research
Ludwig Cancer Research is an international collaborative network of acclaimed scientists with a 40-year legacy of pioneering cancer discoveries. Ludwig combines basic research with the ability to translate its discoveries and conduct clinical trials to accelerate the development of new cancer diagnostics and therapies. Since 1971, Ludwig has invested more than $1.6 billion in life-changing cancer research through the not-for-profit Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the six U.S.-based Ludwig Centers. http://www.ludwigcancerresearch.org

About Karolinska Institutet
Karolinska Institutet is one of the world's leading medical universities. It accounts for over 40 per cent of the medical academic research conducted in Sweden and offers the country's broadest range of education in medicine and health sciences. Since 1901 the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has selected the Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine. More on ki.se/english

For further information, please contact Rachel Steinhardt, rsteinhardt@licr.org or +1-212-450-1582 or the Press Office at Karolinska Institutet, pressinfo@ki.se or +46 (0)8-524 860 77.

Original press releas: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-09/ru-msa091013.php