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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 SemestersFemale Reproductive SystemFertilizationThe Appearance of SomitesFirst TrimesterSecond TrimesterThird TrimesterFetal 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 HemispheresEnd of Embryonic PeriodEnd of Embryonic PeriodFirst Thin Layer of Skin AppearsThird TrimesterDevelopmental Timeline
Click weeks 0 - 40 and follow fetal growth
Google Search artcles published since 2007
 
December 16, 2011--------News Archive

Cancer and Fetal Exposure to Carcinogens
Some cancer, chronic diseasse and neurologic disorders can be attributed to fetal exposure to carcinogens as seen in studies of mice.

Gene Discovered for Weaver Syndrome
Research finds new gene for a rare genetic disorder; and also shows gene mutations in fetus cause syndromes- but same mutation later becomes cancer.

Mom's Asthma Inhaler Risks Child Endocrine Issues
Inhaled glucocorticoids for treating asthma in pregnancy are not associated with increased risk of most diseases in babies, but may increase baby's risk for endocrine and metabolic problems.

December 15, 2011--------News Archive

Progesterone Reduces Neonatal Risk
Women with a short cervix should be treated with vaginal progesterone to prevent preterm birth, according to a landmark study by leading obstetricians worldwide.

The Ability to Love Takes Root in Earliest Infancy
The first 12 to 18 months of life may predict your behavior in romantic relationships 20 years later.

Fetal Trachea Correction Increases Survival
A new study reveals that fetal tracheal occlusion (FETO) improves infant survival rate in severe cases of congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH).

December 14, 2011--------News Archive

Vaccine Successfully Attacks Breast Cancer in Mice!
Vaccine may have implications for treating ovarian, colorectal and pancreatic cancer.

Mom Weight Before/During Pregnancy Affects Baby
Both pre-pregnant weight and weight gain in pregnancy can predict babies’ birthweight. And high birthweight may also predict an overweight adult.

FoxC1 Gene Discovered to Maintain a Clear Cornea
Gene found in humans and mice that protects transparency of cornea, may lead to new therapy for some causes of blindness.

December 13, 2011--------News Archive

Animal Empathy, How Is It Different From Human?
Neuroscientist says animal models could open door to human feelings.

Clues to How the Pancreas Develops
A rare genetic disorder has given insight into how the pancreas develops. It may be possible to 'program' stem cells to become pancreatic cells.

Mitosis - Making The Right Copy At The Right Time
Scientists show how cells accurately inherit information gained epigenetically.

December 12, 2011--------News Archive

Gene Therapy Against Hereditary Bleeding Disorder
Gene therapy offers first proof that the treatment benefits adults with hemophilia B, reducing need for clotting factor to prevent bleeds.

What Goes On Behind Babies Gift of Gab
From the moment they're born, babies are highly attuned to communicate and motivated to interact. And they're great listeners.

Adult Brains Can Continue to Grow With Learning
London's taxi drivers' must pass a test showing they have memorized that city's complex layout of 25,000 streets – causing structural changes in their brains.

WHO Child Growth Charts


Mitosis - Chromosomes BLUE, Protein Cables GREEN
Left - Mitosis Complete
Image: Mariana Silva & Lars Jansen, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia (2011)



Even though all 10 trillion cells in the adult human body are genetically identical, each develops into distinct cell types - muscle cells, skin cells or neurons - by activating some genes while at the same time inhibiting others.

Remarkably, each specialized cell maintains a memory of its' individual identity by remembering which genes should be on or off, even when making copies of itself. This type of memory is not written directly into the DNA, yet it is transferable to other generations. These non-genetic or "epigenetic" instructions often appear to be contained in proteins, and control not only genes but also how chromosomes are organized.

Lars Jansen and his team, at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC), Portugal, have worked out how one of these epigenetic organizing centres is faithfully passed on from mother to daughter cells. Their findings not only explain an otherwise mystifying biological process, but provide insight into cell division that can cause cancer when it goes wrong.

The findings feature in the latest issue of the journal Developmental Cell.

The team focused on a unique protein structure on each chromosome, the centromere. The centromere attaches the chromosome to the cell's skeleton (cytoskeleton) during cell division, ensuring that each daughter cell receives exactly one set of freshly made chromosomes. Inaccuracy in cell division results in cells with the wrong number of genes, a hallmark of tumor cells.

Mariana Silva, a PhD student in the lab, and first author of the study, explains "When cells divide they make exactly two copies of all genes, to be passed on to exactly two cells. A similar feat [also] has to be pulled off for non-genetic information. But how does the cell copy a protein structure? And, how does it ensure just the right number of copies are made? This question is still mystifying scientists. We focussed our efforts on the centromere because the key protein responsible for its epigenetic behavior is known."

This protein CENP-A, keeps a "molecular memory" of the centromere, ensuring its inheritance. Previous studies had shown that, while cells duplicate DNA before mitosis, the CENP-A protein duplication of the centromere takes place only after mitosis (during a 'gap' phase called G1). What triggers duplication and how accuracy is ensured remained unknown.

Lars and his team now find that the very same machinery that is controlling DNA duplication is also controlling CENP-A duplication. This machinery includes cyclin-dependent kinases (Cdks) which act as a molecular clock to drive each step of the cell cycle forward, one step at a time. When Cdks are highly active (before mitosis) DNA duplicates and CENP-A duplication is inhibited. Conversely, after mitosis CENP-A is duplicated, but DNA duplication is inhibited. In other words, if DNA duplicates at midnight, Cdks insure the centromere is copied only at noon.

The IGC researchers came to this elegant model by painstainkingly inhibiting Cdk activity in human and chicken cells at set times. When doing so, they could fool the cells into making new centromeres even while the cells were in the middle of duplicating their DNA. "It´s like [seeing] a cell with jetlag", says Lars Jansen.

Lars puts their findings into context: "What we've uncovered is a very simple, neat mechanism whereby the cell couples DNA duplication, cell division and centromere assembly. By using the same machinery (Cdks) for all these steps but in opposite ways, the cell makes sure that the right number of copies of both genes and centromeres are made by allowing each the appropriate time.

Keeping these critical processes separate in time might be important to avoid errors in either one. Understanding these general principles of epigenetic inheritance are fundamental to our understanding of how genes are regulated, how genomes are organised, and the wide spectrum of diseases that result from errors in these mechanisms."

This research was made possible by funding from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (Portugal), Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (Portugal), the European Commission FP7 program, and the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).

Original article: http://news.wsu.edu/pages/publications.asp?Action=Detail&PublicationID=29223&TypeID=1