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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 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
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Home--History--Bibliography- -Pregnancy Timeline- Prescription Drugs/Pregnancy- Pregnancy Calculator - Reproductive System- -News Alerts

January 6, 2012--------News Archive

Fresh Embryos May Improve Assisted Reproduction
A new study highlights that miscarriage is less likely to occur after the transfer of fresh embryos compared to frozen-thawed embryos.

Air Pollution Link to Diabetes and Hypertension in African-American Women
The risk of diabetes increased by a significant 24 percent, and the risk of hypertension by 11 percent, with increased exposure to nitrogen oxides.

Poor Maternal Diet Can Increase Risk of Diabetes
A molecule called miR-483-3p is produced at higher levels in individuals who experienced a poor diet in their mother's wombs than those who better nourished.

January 5, 2012--------News Archive

Is Obesity in Infants “Programmed” in the Womb?
Omega 3 fatty acids eaten by pregnant women do not prevent expansive adipose tissue from developing in infants.

Progress Towards a Genital Herpes Vaccine
A vaccine under investigation protected some women against infection from one of the two types of herpes simplex the virus that causes genital herpes.

Rare Liver Disorder Kids Tolerate Mom's Graft Best
Children with a rare, life-threatening disease that is the most common cause of neonatal liver failure – biliary atresia – better tolerate liver transplants from their mothers than from their fathers, according to a UCSF-led study.

January 4, 2012--------News Archive

Simple Blood Test in First Trimester Reveals Gender
New research suggests that measuring the ratio of two enzymes in maternal blood will indicate fetal gender.

Nap-deprived Tots Missing Out On More Than Sleep
Toddlers between 2.5 and 3 years who miss only a single daily nap show more anxiety, less joy and interest and poor understanding of how to solve problems.

Women Susceptible to Infection When Ovulating
High levels of estradiol exist just prior to ovulation and decrease immune system effectiveness which can result in the growth and promotion of infection.

January 3, 2012--------News Archive

Gestational Diabetes Linked To Risk of ADHD
Maternal gestational diabetes mellitus and low socioeconomic status, appear to increase the risk of developing childhood ADHD.

Physical Activity, School Performance May Be Linked
By increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain, and increasing endorphins which decrease stress, exercise helps improve academic performance.

January 2, 2012--------News Archive

Evolution Reveals Missing Link in DNA/Protein Shape
Despite knowing for the past 50 years that protein folds are determined by DNA sequence, fold shape complexity has limited development of disease treatments.

Bacteria Fights Fluoride in Toothpaste and in Nature
Research has uncovered the molecular tricks used by bacteria to fight the effects of fluoride, commonly used in toothpaste and mouthwash to combat tooth decay.

Gene Identified in Risk for Pancreatic Cancer
Approximately 10 percent of pancreatic cancer patients come from families with multiple cases of the disease. But finding the gene has been difficult.

WHO Child Growth Charts

What Is Your BMI?

       


(Left)- Researchers have identified pairs of amino acid residues that seem to change in lockstep within the evolutionary record. (Middle) -These identified pairs indicate points on proteins likely to be in contact after they fold. And, (right), give clues for creating models of a protein's three-dimensional structure. (Terry Helms/Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center).


Fifty years after the discovery that a protein’s three-dimensional structure is determined solely by the sequence of its amino acids, an international team of researchers is taking a major step toward fulfilling the tantalizing promise of predicting the structure of a protein from its DNA alone.

The team at Harvard Medical School (HMS), Politecnico di Torino / Human
Genetics Foundation Torino (HuGeF) and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York (MSKCC) has reported substantial progress toward solving a classical problem of molecular biology: the computational protein folding problem.

The results were published December 7, 2011 in the journal PLoS ONE.

In molecular biology and biomedical engineering, knowing the shape of protein molecules is key to understanding how they perform the work of repairing cells, and the mechanisms of disease - essential for drug design.

Normally the shape of protein molecules is determined by expensive and complicated experiments, and for most proteins, experiments have not been done. Computing the shape from genetic information alone is possible in principle. But despite success for some smaller proteins, the challenge remains essentially undone. The difficulty is the enormous complexity of the astronomically large number of possible shapes. It would take a super-computer years to work out all possible shapes for even a small protein.

“Experimental structure determination has a hard time keeping up with the explosion in genetic sequence information,” said Debora Marks, a mathematical biologist in the Department of Systems Biology at HMS, working closely with Lucy Colwell, a mathematician, Cambridge University. They collaborated with physicists Riccardo Zecchina and Andrea Pagnani in Torino, and computational biologist Chris Sander of the Computational Biology Program at MSKCC.

“Collaboration was key,” Sander said. “As with many important discoveries in science, no one could provide the answer in isolation.”

The international team tested a bold idea - that evolution can provide a roadmap to how proteins fold. Beginning with DNA sequence patterns seen throughout evolution, they then combined two other key elements: data from high-throughput genetic sequencing, and a method from statistical physics known as “maximum entropy” (co-developed with Martin Weigt from the University of Paris).

Evolutionary information revealed sequences for thousands of proteins that the team grouped into families by similar protein folding patterns. They then created an algorithm to determine which areas will touch in a specific protein shape. Using a principle from statistical physics called “maximum entropy” they then were able to extract microscopic interactions. The team used standard molecular simulation software developed by Axel Brunger at Stanford University to generate these atomic details of protein shapes.

“The protein folding problem has been a huge combinatorial challenge for decades,” said Zecchina, “but our statistical methods turned out to be surprisingly effective in extracting essential information from the evolutionary record.”

This is the first time scientists have been able to compute accurate shapes from DNA sequence information alone for a test set of 15 diverse proteins, with no protein size limit, and with unprecedented accuracy.

“Alone, none of the individual pieces are completely novel, but apparently nobody had put all of them together to predict 3D protein structure,” Colwell said.

The researchers caution that experimental structures are generally more accurate in atomic detail. Also, at this time the method only works for predicting protein folding in large families of proteins. The next step, the researchers say, is to predict the structures of unsolved proteins currently under investigation, before exploring the largest uncharted territory - unknown protein structures.

“Synergy between computational prediction and experimental determination of structures is likely to yield increasingly valuable insight into the large universe of protein shapes that crucially determine their function and evolutionary dynamics,” Sander said.

The National Cancer Institute; the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council of the United Kingdom

Citation: PLoS ONE, December 7, 2011
“Protein 3D structure computed from evolutionary sequence variation,” Marks et al.

Harvard Medical School (http://hms.harvard.edu) has more than 7,500 full-time faculty working in 11 academic departments located at the School’s Boston campus or in one of 47 hospital-based clinical departments at 17 Harvard-affiliated teaching hospitals and research institutes. Those affiliates include Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women¹s Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, Children¹s Hospital Boston, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Forsyth Institute, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Hebrew SeniorLife, Joslin Diabetes Center, Judge Baker Children¹s Center, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Massachusetts General Hospital, McLean Hospital, Mount Auburn Hospital, Schepens Eye Research Institute, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and VA Boston Healthcare System.

Original article: http://www.focushms.com/features/evolution-reveals-missing-link-between-dna-and-protein-shape/