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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
Google Search artcles published since 2007
 
September 23, 2011--------News Archive

Brain Wiring Continues Well Into Our 20s
The human brain doesn’t stop developing at adolescence, but continues well into our 20s, research from the University of Alberta demonstrates.

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked With Severe Asthma
Children with severe therapy-resistant asthma may have poorer lung function and worse symptoms due to lower levels of vitamin D in their blood.

Reprogramming Muscle Stem Cells to Regenerate
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have turned back the clock on mature muscle tissue, coaxing it back to form new muscle.

September 22, 2011--------News Archive

BPA Changes In-Vitro Egg, Risking Down Syndrome
Bisphenol A is omnipresent in the plastic of common products such as beverage bottles, cans or baby bottles.

'Contaminants' Detected in Narragansett Watershed
Researchers say 'Emerging contaminants of concern' have been detected throughout the Narragansett Bay watershed.

New Plastics for Baby Bottles, Shopping Bags, More
With most of the plastics that define modern life dating to the1930s-1960s, a new breed of these ubiquitous materials are starting to gain a foothold.

September 21, 2011--------News Archive

Epigenetic Changes Don't Always Last
The first comprehensive inventory of epigenetic changes over several generations, shows that these changes often do not last.

Vacuum Device Makes Cellular Exploration Easier
New floating microscopic device will allow researchers to study a wide range of cellular processes.

September 20, 2011--------News Archive

11 Genetic Regions Link Schizophrenia/Bipolar Risk
Common genetic variants contribute to the risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, an international research consortium has discovered.

Pediatric Brain Tumors
Regulatory protein presents potential drug target.

Crosstalk Between Bone, Fat and Pancreatic Cells
Cells in bone, fat and the pancreas appear to be talking to each other and one thing they likely are saying is, "Get moving."

September 19, 2011--------News Archive

Gene Catastrophe Causes Developmental Delay
Research has identified some cases of developmental delay or cognitive disorders associated with a sudden chromosomal catastrophe early in development.

Mom's High-Fat Diet 'Programs' Her Baby to Be Fat
This is the first study to demonstrate that a long-term maternal high-fat diet results in the deposition, in utero, of excess body fat in the newborn.

Length of Song Linked to Size of Upper Bird Brain
Research has proven that the capacity for learning in birds is not linked to overall brain size, but to the relative size and proportion of their specific brain regions.

WHO Child Growth Charts


Cell cyle begins
(G1 Phase) Cell growth

(R Phase) Cell death can occur - apotosis
(S Phase) Replication of DNA
(G2 Phase) Preparation for division
(M Phase) Cell division (mitosis): Cell cylcel begins
Credit: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine/UCLA


Using a diversity of DNA sequencing and human genome analytic techniques, researchers led by Baylor College of Medicine have identified some cases of developmental delay or cognitive disorders associated with a sudden chromosomal catastrophe that occurred early in development, perhaps during cell division when DNA is replicated.

In a report in the journal Cell, Dr. Weimin Bi, assistant professor of molecular and human genetics, Dr. James R.Lupski, vice chair of molecular and human genetics, both at BCM, first author Pengfei Liu, a graduate student in Lupski's laboratory, and their many clinical collaborating colleagues describe the analysis of the DNA of 17 patients who were referred to BCM because they had unexplained developmental problems.

"Four were very complex," said Liu. "One had 18 rearrangements in one chromosome. It was beyond our imagination."

About that time, a group of British researchers led by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute published another paper in Cell describing massive genomic rearrangements in cancer that they believe emanated from a single catastrophic event.

Lupski, Bi and Liu wondered if a similar situation had occurred in their patients, whose rearrangements occurred early in the germ line – the cells that produce eggs and sperm. The events that had occurred in the genetic code of these patients shared striking similarities to the findings in the patients with cancer.

"First, the patients have many duplications and deletions," said Lupski, a pioneer in identifying and understanding copy number variation, changes that occur in the genome that either duplicate or delete genes, changing their expression with profound effects on the individual patients.

"We used comparative genomic array hybridization, FISH (fluorescent in situ hybridization, which can tell a person how many copies of a certain chromosome exist in each cell) and other techniques to demonstrate that this 'catastrophe' phenomenon exists in the genomes of these patients," said Liu.

"This chromosomal catastrophe occurs not only in cancer but can also occur in different developmental tissues. They may occur in the germ line, as in our case, or in the somatic cells. In one case, the patient had this complex rearrangement and the mother also has it, but the rearrangement occurs in only a subset of her cells. It occurred in the mother during development and she then transmitted the rearrangement to the child."

"We see extensive complexity in the rearrangement," said Lupski. The researchers who wrote the cancer paper saw even more complex changes.

However, when such extreme changes occur in the chromosomes of developing embryos, this could potentially disrupt development resulting in "death before birth." The Baylor researchers propose that this accounts for the differences in the two groups, i.e. degree of complexity observed with cancer versus in subjects with cognitive disabilities, but they provide evidence that it is likely the same mechanisms are involved in the chromosomal catastrophes. The genomic changes they describe occur early in the development. The cancer changes occur in the cells of people who are often adults.

"We are looking for the mechanisms that cause this catastrophe," said Lupski. "We are dealing with pure rearrangement. The whole body has it, not just a subset of cancerous cells within a growing tumor."

In their work, the team saw features that seemed to indicate that the catastrophe may have occurred as a result of a single event involving DNA replication – the process during cell division in which the pattern of DNA is copied for use in the new cell. If that replication process misfires, then the DNA is not copied accurately and the resulting cell is abnormal.

The developmental disorders the BCM team studies are those that can be caused by mutation in one of many potential genes.

"A combination of effects on multiple genes may be responsible for some subset of disorders," said Lupski. "You can interrupt one gene, delete another gene, make three copies of another gene; a single mutational event, but a potential multigenic effect."

Funding for this work came from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Institutes of General Medical Science, the Baylor College of Medicine Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center, The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Children Health & Human Development, the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation and the National Urea Cycle Foundation.

Dr. Lupski holds the Cullen Endowed Chair in Molecular Genetics.