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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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May 20, 2011--------News Archive

New Complexity In Genetic Diversity Of RNA
It turns out
RNA proteins do not precisely match the genes that encode them.

Validating Preschool Programs For Autism
Scientists from the Universities of Miami, North Carolina and Colorado, developed measures to evaluate teaching programs for autistic preschool children.


May 19, 2011--------News Archive

New Technique To 'Lift The Hood’ On Autism
A new study provides compelling evidence that exome-sequencing is an effective way to discover which of the 20,000 and more genes in the human genome are responsible for autism spectrum disorders.

Maternal Smoking Causes Changes In Fetal DNA
Children whose mothers or grandmothers smoked during pregnancy are at increased risk of asthma in childhood. A new study indicates changes in DNA methylation occuring before birth may be the root cause.


May 18, 2011--------News Archive

New Antiepileptic Drugs Don't Increase Birth Defects
Use of newer-generation antiepileptic drugs prescribed for bipolar mood disorders and migraine headaches, during the first trimester of pregnancy, are not associated with an increased risk of major birth defects in the first year of life in Denmark.

Neglect And Deprevation Age a Child's Chromosomes
Study of institutionalized Romanian children finds prematurely shortened telomeres, a mark of cell aging.


May 17, 2011--------News Archive

Older Fathers Linked to Autism In Children
Researchers sequenced protein-coding sections of affected childrens' genomes and their findings support population studies showing that autism is more common among children of older parents, especially older fathers.

Gene Variation Linked to Infertility in Women
A variation in a gene involved in regulating cholesterol also appears to affect progesterone in women, making it a likely culprit in cases of infertility.


May 16, 2011--------News Archive

Genetic Clue to Common Birth Defects Found
Scientists at King’s College London have for the first time uncovered a gene responsible for Adams-Oliver Syndrome, giving valuable insight into the possible genetic causes of common birth defects found in the wider population.

'Master switch' For Obesity and Diabetes Discovered
A gene linked to type 2 diabetes and cholesterol levels is in fact a 'master regulator' gene, which controls other genes found within fat in the body.

Tiny Change in One Gene May Explain Human Brain
The deep fissures and convolutions that increase the surface area and allow for rational and abstract thoughts of the human brain may be due to the LAMC3 gene.

Gene Change Can Get You Cancer Or Normal Growth
The deep fissures and convolutions that increase the surface area and allow for rational and abstract thoughts of the human brain may be due to one gene.


WHO Child Growth Charts

Children whose mothers or grandmothers smoked during pregnancy are at increased risk of asthma in childhood, but the underlying causes of this are not well understood. Now a new study indicates changes in a process called DNA methylation that occurs before birth may be a root cause.

The study will be presented at the ATS 2011 International Conference.

DNA methylation is a process that can alter a gene's usual function. These altered genes can be passed along from parent to child. In this case, researchers observed DNA methylation-related changes in the AXL gene in children exposed to maternal smoking in utero. The AXL gene plays an important role in many human cancers and in immune response.

"We found that children exposed to maternal smoking in utero had a 2.3 percent increase in DNA methylation in AXL," said Carrie Breton, ScD, assistant professor of preventive medicine at The Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles.

"These results confirm results from a prior study and present compelling evidence that environmental exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy may alter DNA methylation levels."'

Using a detailed questionnaire, the researchers targeted the mothers and grandmothers of 173 children participating in the Early Asthma Risk Factors Study (EARS), a study within the larger California Children's Health Study, and assessed their smoking habits during pregnancy. DNA samples collected from cheek cells of mothers and children were evaluated. Dr. Breton and her team found that DNA methylation of AXL was associated with in utero exposure to maternal smoking, and also found that grandmaternal smoking was not significantly associated with AXL methylation in either the mother or the child. The association between DNA methylation of AXL and in utero exposure to smoking was stronger in girls than in boys, she added.

Dr. Breton said the results of the study indicate the need for a greater understanding of the effects environmental factors have on epigenetic changes – that is, changes in gene function or expression that occur as the result of mechanisms other than changes to the underlying DNA sequence – and early development in general.

"Environmental exposures occurring in utero have the potential to affect DNA methylation patterns before birth," she explained. "Imprinted genes appear to be particularly susceptible to these exposures since they come from one parent and only a single copy from one chromosome in DNA is active. Any environmentally-induced epigenetic changes will have greater impact on gene expression and function. In utero and early life exposures are likely to be important, given what we know about timing during development when epigenetic marks are established."

Investigating the effects of environmental exposures on epigenetics is a largely unexplored area of research, and one that holds great promise for understanding biological mechanisms that underlie exposure-disease associations, she added.

"We are interested in further characterizing the pattern of epigenetic marks across this gene and whether there is a widespread response to both maternal smoking exposure and air pollution exposure in utero," Dr. Breton said. "We hope to also evaluate timing of effects of exposure during trimester by increasing the number of samples we evaluated in a manner that will let us compare trimester-specific exposures."

"Pre-Pregnancy And First Trimester Exposure To Maternal Smoking Affects DNA Methylation In The AXL Promoter" (Session D23, Wednesday, May 18, 8:15-10:45 a.m., Room 501-502 (Street Level), Colorado Convention Center; Abstract 18099). Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-05/ats-msc051111.php

* Please note that numbers in this release may differ slightly from those in the abstract. Many of these investigations are ongoing; the release represents the most up-to-date data available at press time.