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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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Disclaimer: The Visible Embryo web site is provided for your general information only. The information contained on this site should not be treated as a substitute for medical, legal or other professional advice. Neither is The Visible Embryo responsible or liable for the contents of any websites of third parties which are listed on this site.
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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
Google Search artcles published since 2007
 
September 2, 2011--------News Archive

'Gene Overdose' Causes Extreme Thinness
Scientists have discovered a genetic cause of extreme thinness for the first time.

Genetics Meets Metabolomics
A closer look at each individual's metabolites might lead to a better estimation for that individual's risk for developing complex common diseases.

September 1, 2011--------News Archive

Parents’ Stress Leaves Marks on Children’s Genes
Epigenetics changes the expression of genes, and can induce long lasting changes in our children when they are exposed our to stress.

Gene Defect Linked to Disfiguring Disorder
The faulty gene responsible for Proteus syndrome, a rare disorder of uncontrolled growth of certain body tissues and organs, has been identified

August 31, 2011--------News Archive

Mom's Morning Sickness May Affect Infant Brain
Extreme morning sickness could lead to lifelong emotional, behavioral disorders in kids.

Stanford Invents Sutureless Joining of Blood Vessels
Sutures are difficult to use on blood vessels less than 1 mm wide. Now, Stanford University has a glue which works on extremely slim blood vessels 0.2 mm wide.

August 30, 2011--------News Archive

Bilingual Babies' Display Early Brain Differentiation
Babies and children are whizzes at learning a second language, but that ability begins to fade as early as their first birthday.

Mouse Model Brings New Ideas on Lafora Disease
Researchers at IRB Barcelona have demonstrated a link between abnormal sugar accumulation and the neuronal degeneration characteristic of Lafora disease.

August 29, 2011--------News Archive

Non Coding RNAs Direct Embryonic Development
Embryonic stem cells can either differentiate into cells of a specific lineage such as blood cells or neurons, or they can stay in a pluripotent state. Depending on RNAs.

Degrading One Protein Allows Cell to Divide
Found, a crucial element controlling segregation of genetic material from parent to daughter cells. Regulating CenH3 protein ensures correct cell division in Drosophila.

Going With the Flow
The egg develops through two asymmetric divisions, separating into daughter cells. However, microtubules don't pull apart the centromeres, just with the flow of actin.

A Light Answer to the Heavy Question of Cell Growth
A technique offers insight into the much-debated problem of whether cells grow at a constant rate or exponentially.

WHO Child Growth Charts


lincRNAs orchestrate the fate of embryonic stem cells (shown) by keeping them in their fledgling state or directing them to cell specialization. Image courtesy of Alex Meissner

Scientists at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have discovered that a mysterious class of large RNAs plays a central role in embryonic development, contrary to the dogma that proteins alone are the master regulators of this process. The research, published online August 28 in the journal Nature, reveals that these RNAs orchestrate the fate of embryonic stem (ES) cells by keeping them in their fledgling state or directing them along the path to cell specialization.

Broad scientists discovered several years ago that the human and mouse genomes encode thousands of unusual RNAs — termed large, intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) —but their role was almost entirely unknown. By studying more than 100 lincRNAs in ES cells, the researchers now show that these RNAs help regulate development by physically interacting with proteins to coordinate gene expression and suggest that lincRNAs may play similar roles in most cells.

"There's been a lot of debate about what lincRNAs are doing," said Eric Lander, director of the Broad Institute and the senior author of the paper.

"It's now clear that they play critical roles in regulating developmental decisions — that is, cell fate. This was a big surprise, because specific types of proteins have been thought to be the master controls of development."

"This is the first global study of lincRNAs," said Mitchell Guttman, first author of the paper and a graduate student at MIT and the Broad Institute. "We picked embryonic stem cells in particular because they are so important to development and so well understood. This allowed us to dissect the role of lincRNAs within the circuitry of a cell."

The researchers used genetic tools to inhibit more than 100 lincRNAs and found that the vast majority — more than 90 percent — had a significant impact on embryonic stem cells, indicating that the RNAs play a key role in the cells' circuitry.

Embryonic stem cells can follow one of two main routes.

They can either differentiate, becoming cells of a specific lineage such as blood cells or neurons, or they can stay in a pluripotent state, duplicating themselves without losing the ability to become any cell in the body. When the researchers turned off each lincRNA in turn, they found dozens that suppress genes that are important only in specific kinds of cells. They also found dozens of lincRNAs that cause the stem cells to exit the pluripotent state.

"It's a balancing act," said Guttman. "To maintain the pluripotent state, you need to repress differentiation genes."

The researchers also uncovered a critical clue about how lincRNAs carry out their important job. Through biochemical analysis, they found that lincRNAs physically interact with key proteins involved in influencing cell fate to coordinate their responses.

"The lincRNAs appear to play an organizing role, acting as a scaffold to assemble a diverse group of proteins into functional units," said John Rinn, an author on the paper, an assistant professor at Harvard University and Medical School, and a senior associate member of the Broad Institute. "lincRNAs are like team captains, bringing together the right players to get a job done."

"By understanding how these interactions form, we may be able to engineer these RNAs to do what we want them to do," said Guttman. "This could make it possible to target key genes that are improperly regulated in disease."

Aviv Regev, an author on the paper, a core member of the Broad Institute, and associate professor at MIT, sees the team's approach to studying the lincRNAs as important for the field.

"Many people are interested in lincRNAs, but they need a comprehensive view of the whole collection of lincRNAs," said Regev. "The large-scale data and technology from this study will be useful for scientists worldwide in studying both lincRNAs as well as many other RNAs in the cell."

This project marks a collaborative effort involving experts in embryonic stem cells and lincRNAs as well as computational biologists and researchers in the Broad's RNAi Platform, which developed the tools needed to systematically silence lincRNAs.

Other researchers who contributed to this work include Julie Donaghey, Bryce W. Carey, Manuel Garber, Jennifer K. Grenier, Glen Munson, Geneva Young, Anne Bergstrom Lucas, Robert Ach, Xiaoping Yang, Ido Amit, Alexander Meissner, and David E. Root. This work was funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute, the Richard Merkin Foundation for Stem Cell Research at the Broad Institute, and funds from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

Written by Haley Bridger, Broad Institute

Paper cited: Guttman M et al. lincRNAs act in the circuitry controlling pluripotency and differentiation. Nature. August 28, 2011 DOI: 10.1038/nature10398

The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT was launched in 2004 to empower this generation of creative scientists to transform medicine. The Broad Institute seeks to describe all the molecular components of life and their connections; discover the molecular basis of major human diseases; develop effective new approaches to diagnostics and therapeutics; and disseminate discoveries, tools, methods and data openly to the entire scientific community.

Founded by MIT, Harvard and its affiliated hospitals, and Eli and Edythe L. Broad, the Broad Institute includes faculty, professional staff and students from throughout the MIT and Harvard biomedical research communities and beyond, with collaborations spanning over a hundred private and public institutions in more than 40 countries worldwide. For further information, go to http://www.broadinstitute.org.

The Richard Merkin Foundation for Stem Cell Research at the Broad Institute seeks to fund Broad Institute-affiliated scientists to develop a novel and comprehensive "toolbox" of experimental methods and computational algorithms and to apply those tools to understand cellular circuitry in stem cells, with the goal of being able to manipulate those circuits for both biological knowledge and medical applications.