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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 Dec 11, 2013

 

Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) occur when a single nucleotide — A, T, C or G —
in a gene differs from its' paired chromosome.







WHO Child Growth Charts

 

 

 

Discovered: genetic difference between 'identical' twins

Eurofins Scientific (EUFI.PA), a genomics service for forensics and paternity testing, has successfully completed a research project to genetically discriminate between "identical" monozygotic male twins.

So far there have been only theoretical considerations that monozygotic twins are genetically identical. Statistically, around 6 of 1,000 males are identical twins. Up to now, forensic DNA testing could not be used in crime or paternity cases involving identical male twins, as there was no established method for genetic discrimination between them.

Eurofins scientists pushed the limits of available DNA testing to find subtle differences.


The scientists sequenced DNA sperm samples from two twins and a blood sample from the child of one twin. Bioinformatic analysis revealed five mutations — called Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) — present in the twin father and child, but not in the twin uncle. The SNPs were confirmed by classical Sanger sequencing.


The results give experimental evidence for the hypothesis — as results must be confirmed by other scientists in other laboratories — that rare mutations occur early just before or perhaps just after the single human blastocyst splits into two blastocysts, the origin of monozygotic twinning. Such mutations continue into somatic tissue and into germ, or sex cells.

The genetic differences found will help solve forensic and paternity cases involving monozygotic male twins.

The peer-reviewed study "Finding the needle in the haystack: Differentiating "identical" twins in paternity testing and forensics by ultra-deep next generation sequencing" is published in the journal Forensic Science International: Genetics.

Abstract
Monozygotic (MZ) twins are considered being genetically identical, therefore they cannot be differentiated using standard forensic DNA testing. Here we describe how identification of extremely rare mutations by ultra-deep next generation sequencing can solve such cases. We sequenced DNA from sperm samples of two twins and from a blood sample of the child of one twin. Bioinformatics analysis revealed five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) present in the twin father and the child, but not in the twin uncle. The SNPs were confirmed by classical Sanger sequencing. Our results give experimental evidence for the hypothesis that rare mutations will occur early after the human blastocyst has split into two, the origin of twins, and that such mutations will be carried on into somatic tissue and the germline. The method provides a solution to solve paternity and forensic cases involving monozygotic twins as alleged fathers or originators of DNA traces.

Bruno Poddevin, Senior Vice-President of the Genomic Services division and head of the Forensics laboratory at Eurofins, comments: "Eurofins scientists are the first to proof that monozygotic twins are genetically not absolutely identical. As the only provider worldwide Eurofins can now offer DNA forensic and paternity testing to discriminate identical twins to authorities, courts and individuals. Our leading genomic and forensic services team has provided the basis for reaching this milestone. As the first provider of next generation sequencing services in Europe, Eurofins also has proprietary, long expertise in the professional handling and analysis of the enormous amount of data involved in such a project. The dataset in this project equaled a total of 241 human genomes, resulting from up to 94 fold genomic coverage of the involved three individuals.

The Eurofins "Twin Test" is available at all laboratories of the Eurofins Genomics and Eurofins Genetics Division. The test will be performed at the Eurofins DNA Campus in Ebersberg, at the laboratories of Eurofins MWG Operon and Eurofins Forensics.