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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
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April 29, 2011--------News Archive

Catching Autism At The 1-year Well-Baby Check-Up
A novel strategy developed by autism researchers at the University of California, San Diego, shows promise as a simple way to detect cases of Autism Syndrome.

A New Wrinkle In The Genetic Code
Long ago a mouse was created that is just now teaching us that mutations in the proteins produced from ribosomes can lead to unexpected birth defects.


April 28, 2011--------News Archive

Tired Neurons Nod Off in Sleep-Deprived Rats
The more rats are sleep-deprived, the more neurons take catnaps. Though the animals are awake and active, neurons in the cortex, are briefly falling asleep.

Obese Adolescents Lacking Vitamin D
Vitamin D status is significantly associated with muscle power/force; a deficiency may interfere with the obese adolescent's ability to increase physical activity.


April 27, 2011--------News Archive

Men and Women Respond Differently to PTSD
Men and women had starkly different immune system responses to chronic post-traumatic stress disorder. Men show no response, women show a strong one.

Motor Protein May Offer Promise In Ovarian Cancer
A regulatory motor protein can block ovarian tumor growth, leading to cancer cell death and new therapies to treat the disease.


April 26, 2011--------News Archive

Protein Levels Could Signal Childhood Diabetes
Decreasing blood levels of a protein that helps control inflammation may be a red flag that could help children avoid type 1 diabetes.

Best Treatment For Gestational Tumors
A clinical trial has sifted out the most effective chemotherapy regimen for quick-growing but highly curable cancers arising from the placentas of pregnant women.


April 25, 2011--------News Archive

Frog Embryos Teach Us About Heart Development
Thanks to new research at the University of Pennsylvania, there is new insight into the processes that regulate the formation of the heart.

Brain Cells Offer Insight on How Cancer Spreads
The mechanism regulating embryonic development in plants displays similarities to a signalling pathway in embryonic stem cells in mammals.

WHO Child Growth Charts

Fluorescently-dyed cells migrating to the heart

During embryonic development, cells migrate to their eventual location in the adult body plan and begin to differentiate into specific cell types. Thanks to new research at the University of Pennsylvania, there is new insight into how tissues are regulated in the formation of the heart.

A developmental biologist at Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine, Jean-Pierre Saint-Jeannet, along with a colleague, Young-Hoon Lee of South Korea’s Chonbuk National University, has mapped the embryonic region that becomes the part of the heart that separates the outgoing blood in Xenopus, a genus of frog.

Xenopus is a commonly used model organism for developmental studies, and is a particularly interesting for this kind of research because amphibians have a single ventricle and the outflow tract septum is incomplete.

In higher vertebrates, chickens and mice, the cardiac neural crest provides the needed separation for both circulations at the level of the outflow tract, remodeling one vessel into two. In fish, where there is no separation at all between the two circulations, the cardiac neural crest contributes to all regions of the heart.

“In the frog, we were expecting to find something that was in between fish and higher vertebrates, but that’s not the case at all,” said Saint-Jeannet. “It turns out that cardiac neural crest cells do not contribute to the outflow tract septum, they stop their migration before entering the outflow tract. The blood separation comes from an entirely different part of the embryo, known as the ‘second heart field.’”

“As compared to other [animal] models the migration of the cardiac neural crest in amphibians has been dramatically changed through evolution,“ he said.

Saint-Jeannet’s research will be published in the May 15 edition of the journal Development.

To determine where the neural crest cells migrated during development, the researchers labeled the embryonic cells with a fluorescent dye, then followed the path those marked cells took under a microscope. “We label the cardiac neural crest cells in one embryo and then graft them onto an embryo that is unlabeled. We let the embryo develop normally and look where those cells end up in the developing heart,” said Saint-Jeannet.

Knowing these paths, and the biological signals that govern them, could have implications for human health.

“There are a number of pathologies in humans that have been associated with abnormal deployment of the cardiac neural crest, such as DiGeorge Syndrome,” said Saint-Jeannet. “Among other developmental problems, these patients have an incomplete blood separation at the level of the outflow tract, because the cardiac neural crest does not migrate and differentiate at the proper location.”

DiGeorge syndrome is present in about 1 in 4,000 live births, and often requires cardiac surgery to correct.

“Xenopus could be a great model to study the signals that cause those cells to migrate into the outflow tract of the heart,’ said Saint-Jeannet. “If you can understand the signals that prevent or promote the colonization of this tissue, you can understand the pathology of something like DiGeorge syndrome and perhaps figure out what kind of molecule we can introduce there to force those cells to migrate further down.”

This research was supported by Bridge Funds from the University of Pennsylvania and the School of Veterinary Medicine and by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Original article: http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/news/penn-research-using-frog-embryos-leads-new-understanding-cardiac-development