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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.

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 ON weeks 0 - 40 and follow along every 2 weeks of fetal development
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Home | Pregnancy Timeline | News Alerts |News Archive Jan 7, 2015

The Corpus Collasum is a wide, flat bundle of neural fibers beneath the cortex in the brain connecting the left and right cerebral hemispheres. It facilitates interhemispheric communication.
It is the largest white matter structure in the brain, consisting of 200–250 million axonal projections. Image Credit: Gray's Anatomy and Wikipedia

 






 

 

Molecular network identified underlying ASD

Researchers in the United States have identified a molecular network of many of the genes previously shown to contribute to autism spectrum disorders. This finding provides a map of some of the crucial protein interactions contributing to autism and will help uncover new gene candidates for the disease.

The results are published in Molecular Systems Biology.

"The study of autism disorders is extremely challenging due to the large number of clinical mutations that occur in hundreds of different human genes associated with autism," says Michael Snyder, Professor at the Stanford Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine and the lead author of the study. "We wanted to see to what extent shared molecular pathways are disturbed by the diverse sets of mutations linked to autism in the hope of uncovering tracable information to benefit future study."

The researchers generated their interactome - the whole set of interactions within a cell - from the BioGrid database of protein and genetic interactions. "We have identified a specific module within this interactome that is made up of 119 proteins and shows a very strong enrichment for autism genes," remarked Snyder.

Gene expression (or how a gene begins to function) data and genome sequencing were used to identify protein interaction modules for known autism genes. The sequencing of the genomes of 25 patients confirmed the protein interaction module and candidate genes were also found in a larger group of more than 500 patients analyzed by exome sequencing.


Researchers revealed the role
of the corpus callosum and
oligodendrocyte cells in the
brain as important contributors
to autism spectrum disorders
using RNA sequencing, antibody
staining and other genomic
evidence.



"Much of today's research on autism is focused on the study of neurons and now our study has also revealed that oligodendrocytes are also implicated. In the future, we need to study how the interplay between different types of brain cells or different regions of the brain contribute to autism." says Jingjing Li, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Stanford Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine who helped to spearhead the work.

Adds Snyder: "The module we identified which is enriched in autism genes had two distinct components. One of these components was expressed throughout different regions of the brain. The second component had enhanced molecular expression in the corpus callosum. Both components of the network interacted extensively with each other."


The working hypothesis of the scientists, which is consistent with other recent findings, is that disruptions in parts of the corpus callosum interfere with the circuitry that connects the two hemispheres of the brain.

This likely gives rise to the different types of autism that result due to impairment of signaling between the two halves of the brain.


Michael Snyder: "Our study highlights the importance of building integrative models to study complex human diseases,. The use of biological networks allowed us to superimpose clinical mutations for autism onto specific disease-related pathways. This helps finding the needles in the haystack worthy of further investigation and provides a framework to uncover functional models for other diseases."

Abstract
Autism is a complex disease whose etiology remains elusive. We integrated previously and newly generated data and developed a systems framework involving the interactome, gene expression and genome sequencing to identify a protein interaction module with members strongly enriched for autism candidate genes. Sequencing of 25 patients confirmed the involvement of this module in autism, which was subsequently validated using an independent cohort of over 500 patients. Expression of this module was dichotomized with a ubiquitously expressed subcomponent and another subcomponent preferentially expressed in the corpus callosum, which was significantly affected by our identified mutations in the network center. RNA-sequencing of the corpus callosum from patients with autism exhibited extensive gene mis-expression in this module, and our immunochemical analysis showed that the human corpus callosum is predominantly populated by oligodendrocyte cells. Analysis of functional genomic data further revealed a significant involvement of this module in the development of oligodendrocyte cells in mouse brain. Our analysis delineates a natural network involved in autism, helps uncover novel candidate genes for this disease and improves our understanding of its molecular pathology.

The paper: http://dx.doi.org/10.15252/msb.20145487; "Integrated systems analysis reveals a molecular network underlying autism spectrum disorders"

Authors: Jingjing Li, Minyi Shi, Zhihai Ma, Shuchun Zhao, Ghia Euskirchen, Jennifer Ziskin, Alexander Urban, Joachim Hallmayer, Michael Snyder

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