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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 ' million visitors each month.


WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform
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 weeks 0 - 40 and follow fetal growth
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August 26, 2011--------News Archive


A Question of Gene Silencing
Researchers have found a new way to selectively turn off genes that don't code for proteins which will help identify each gene's function, and perhaps identify cancers.

Scented Products Emit Hazardous Chemicals
Chemical sleuthing has uncovered that fragrance in consumer laundry products contains hazardous chemicals. Some which are even carcinogens.

August 25, 2011--------News Archive

Human Stem Cells Made From Amnionic Fluid
Human epithelial cells transplanted from human amnionic fluid reduce pulmonary fibrosis, and even stimulate lung regeneration in mice.

Scale Models Rule
Body patterns stay in sync with size as an embryo grows into an adult. Observed in the wing of the fruit fly, these patterns most likely exist in all organisms.

Chronic Disease Caused by Fat Cells?
Fat cells in people with metabolic syndrome have biomarkers for insulin resistance and chronic inflammation, conditions in diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

August 24, 2011--------News Archive

In the Early Life of An Embryo, Chaos Lurks
A calcium wave sparks embryonic cell division, doubling as a synchronizer of all further cell division in order for chaos to be reined in and ordered growth to persist.

Smoking Affects Fetal Infant Brain Worse than Feared
Researchers pin-point smoking specifically and find a 40% increase in damage to the fetus.

August 23, 2011--------News Archive

Boys Reach Sexual Maturity Younger and Younger
The phase between being physically but not socially adult is getting longer.

When Cell Fishing Games Go Wrong
Trial-and-error "fishing" for DNA in the nucleus may be the most important cause of female infertility.

A Sticky Egg Captures The Sperm
A sugar molecule makes the outer coat of a human egg 'sticky', which is vital for enabling the sperm and egg to bind together.

At Last, Reason Why Stress Damages DNA
Adreneline produced by chronic stress, degrades the protein p53 which is considered a tumor suppressor protein and "guardian of the genome."

August 22, 2011--------News Archive

The Basis for Head and Sex Organ Deformities
Data reveals a possible therapy using vitamin B2 to reverse enzyme defects is specific areas of fetal development.

Mother’s BMI Linked to Fatter Babies
Babies of mothers with a higher pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) are fatter and have more fat in their liver, a study has found.

Celiac Disease May Explain Some Women's Infertility
A recent study found increased rates of celiac disease in women who present with unexplained infertility.

WHO Child Growth Charts



An enzyme (pink) stands out against a background of blue-tinted DNA. It silences the ribosomal RNA genes from one parent while those from the other parent remain active. Picture courtesy of Olga Pontes and Craig Pikaard, Washington University in St. Louis.

When investigating cancer cells, researchers discovered numerous peculiarities: Particular RNA molecules are present in large numbers, particular genes are overactive. Do these characteristics have a relation to cancer? Do they promote cell growth? Do they inactivate growth brakes or are they just a whim of nature?

To find clues for answering these questions scientists perform what are called loss-of-function analyses. They knock out (silence) the gene of interest in living cells or whole organisms and subsequently look for any changes in the cells' metabolism, physiology or behavior in order to find out whether specific cellular functions are lost.

"However, what was still missing was a method for selectively silencing those genes that do not code for proteins," said Dr. Sven Diederichs, who is head of a Junior Research Group at DKFZ and at the Institute of Pathology of Heidelberg University. With his team, the molecular biologist has now developed a new method for selectively silencing such non-protein-coding genes and, thus, determining their function.

"In many cancers we find that specific non-coding genes are particularly active. Therefore, we want to understand what the RNA molecules transcribed from these genes bring about in the tumor cells."

Diederichs and his team have based their method on the use of zinc finger nucleases. These are engineered protein molecules that cut DNA at precisely defined locations, facilitating the specific targeting and cutting of genes. Although the cell's repair machinery will then re-connect the two cut ends, silencing works well for protein-coding genes. The repair enzymes usually do not repair the site precisely and insert small defects. This destroys the protein information so that the proteins can no longer be formed.

For non-protein-coding genes, however, such small defects are not relevant. The repair process simply results in another functioning gene being transcribed into the RNA molecules.

The Heidelberg researchers got around this spontaneous response with a trick: repair proteins are able to integrate small DNA segments when mending cut ends. So, the molecular biologists integrated a signaling sequence at the site where the gene was cut. This sequence causes the RNA transcript of this gene to be broken down immediately so that it can't function. These resulting changes can then be analyzed comprehensively.

"We are now able, for the first time, to completely silence the non-protein-coding genes and thus study their molecular and cellular functions," said Sven Diederichs when explaining the goal of his research approach. "It is very likely that these genes play an important role in cancer development. We are sure it is not by chance that they are so very active particularly in tumor cells."

Tony Gutschner, Marion Baas and Sven Diederichs: Non-coding RNA Gene Silencing through genomic integration of RNA destabilizing elements using Zinc Finger Nucleases. Genome Research 2011, Doi:10.1101/gr.122358.111

The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ), employing over 2,500 staff members, is the largest biomedical research institute in Germany.

Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-08/haog-aqo082411.php