Welcome to The Visible Embryo

Home- - -History-- -Bibliography- -Pregnancy Timeline- --Prescription Drugs in Pregnancy- -- Pregnancy Calculator- --Female Reproductive System- News Alerts -Contact

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!



Home

History

Bibliography

Pregnancy Timeline

Prescription Drug Effects on Pregnancy

Pregnancy Calculator

Female Reproductive System

Contact The Visible Embryo

News Alerts Archive
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.
Content protected under a Creative Commons License.

No dirivative works may be made or used for commercial purposes.

Return To Top Of Page
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 33333333333333333333333
Google Search artcles published since 2007
 
May 27, 2011--------News Archive

Predicting Diabetes 7 Years Before Pregnancy
A woman's risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy can be identified up to seven years before she is pregnant based on routine blood sugar and weight.

Caffeine Can Reduce Fertility In Women
Caffeine reduces muscle activity in the fallopian tubes which should move eggs from a woman's ovaries into her womb.


May 26, 2011--------News Archive

Take Prenatal Vitamins Early And Reduce Autism
Women who reported not taking a daily prenatal vitamin immediately before and during the first month of pregnancy were nearly twice as likely to have a child with an autism spectrum disorder.

High-Fat Pregnancy Diet Programs Child for Diabetes
A high-fat diet during pregnancy can program a woman's baby for future diabetes, even if she herself is not obese or diabetic.


May 25, 2011--------News Archive

New Insight Into Obesity and Metabolic Disorders
Focussing on endoplasmic reticulum reverses Type 2 diabetes in mice.

New Drug Stops Aggressive Childhood Leukemia
Investigators have been able to overcome a form of leukemia through targeted therapy, completly eradicating the cancer in cell and animal studies.


May 24, 2011--------News Archive

New Genetic Testing Technology for IVF Embryos
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine has devised a technique to help couples have in vitro fertilized babies free of genetic disease and chromosomal abnormalities.

A New Program for Neural Stem Cells
Max Planck Institute scientists have just produced central nervous system cells from neural stem cells taken from the peripheral nervous system.


May 23, 2011--------News Archive

The Mosh Pit of Cell Movement
Physical forces that guide how cells migrate - how they get from place to place inside the living body - are a mess.

Understanding and Treating Brittle Bones
Hope for developing new treatment of bone density mutations leading to such conditions as osteoporosis in adults and osteogenesis imperfecta in children.

Anesthesiologists' Affect On Maternal Fetal Outcome
A first-of-its-kind study exploring how anesthesiologists are perceived by labor and delivery colleagues.

Understanding How Retinas Develop
Using inbred mice, scientists have identified where genes contribute to cone photoreceptor development.

WHO Child Growth Charts

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has created a new technique which helps couples affected by genetic diseases have in vitro fertilized babies free of both the disease in question and other chromosomal abnormalities.

The results were reported in the April issue of Fertility and Sterility.

Because embryos are so small and cells contain too little DNA to do extensive testing, researchers have had to limit genetic testing of IVF embryos. They can test for either (1) a specific gene mutation that is known to exist in either parent or (2) for other types of chromosomal abnormalities such as the existence of too many or too few chromosomes (aneuploidy) or other structural chromosomal errors.

By a method of trial and error that lasted approximately one year, Paul Brezina, M.D., M.B.A., a clinical fellow in obstetrics and gynecology and William G. Kearns, Ph.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology have now optimized a technique they call "modified multiple displacement amplification" that allows them to make carbon copies of the DNA obtained from an embryo collected for vitro fertilization. The new technique creates enough DNA to do multiple tests on one embryo.

"We were able to amplify the genomic DNA accurately to the point where both single-gene testing and aneuploidy screening could be done. Up till now it has only been one or the other," says Brezina.

Couples often first learn that they are carriers of a genetic disease, such as Cystic Fibrosis or Tay-Sachs, from having a previous child who is affected by the disease. Planning to have another baby, who may also be at risk for having the same disease, can be quite a daunting experience, says Brezina.

As a result, such couples have been turning to in vitro fertilization (IVF) coupled with preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) - genetic testing prior to implanting the embryos into the mother's uterus, to become pregnant.

In PGD, which is also called single-gene testing, doctors remove either one cell from an IVF-conceived three-day old embryo, which contains only eight cells total, or a few cells from a five-day old embryo, which contains about 150 cells total. Removing more cells from the embryo is not a viable option as it can compromise the health and development of that embryo. Scientists then test the DNA from the collected cells for the disease-causing genetic alteration. They then implant back into the mother only those embryos that will give rise to a baby free of a detected disease.

However, as much of a boon as PGD can be for affected families, PGD babies are still exposed to the genetic risk from the gain or loss of chromosomes, a condition called aneuploidy. Aneuploidy can cause several other conditions, the most common of which is Down syndrome.

Brezina and Kearns applied their new modified multiple displacement technique to screen embryos from a couple where both parents were carriers for GM1 gangliosidosis, a potentially lethal disease that can cause seizures, bone malformations and mental disabilities; the couple already had one child with the disease and the mother was older and had a prior history of miscarriage.

Brezina and Kearns amplified the DNA from the couple's embryos and sent some of the amplified DNA to their collaborators at the Reproductive Genetics Institute in Chicago for PGD testing for GM1 gangliosidosis. They had enough DNA leftover to test it for aneuploidy using a test developed by Kearns called 23-chromosome microarray on embryos.

Of the ten IVF embryos that they tested, they found that although only two were affected by GM1 gangliosidosis, an additional three were also aneuploid, leaving them with only five healthy embryos available for transfer to the uterus. One of the healthy embryos was transferred back into the mother, who subsequently became pregnant.

"The strength of this technique lies not only in its ability to detect two different kinds of genetic alterations while causing minimal harm to the embryo, but also in the speed with which it can be completed," says Kearns. "This allows the embryo to be transferred back into the mother in a timely manner."

Since the online publication of this study in December 2010, Kearns, who also directs the Shady Grove Center for Preimplantation Genetics in Rockville, MD, has offered combined PGD and aneuploidy testing to seven more couples. Five of these seven couples have achieved pregnancy with this technique and one couple is scheduled to transfer an embryo in the near future.

Speaking of one of the couples, Kearns said: "I am really happy for this couple. She is a 39-year-old woman who is a carrier for Fragile X syndrome (a genetic disease that causes mental disabilities) and had two first trimester miscarriages. We did the same methodology on her and now she is pregnant. It is spectacular."

And they aren't stopping there. Kearns and Brezina are trying to further improve existing technologies so that they can more accurately identify genetic abnormalities in IVF embryos.

"IVF is only going to become more relevant as time goes on and as it gets better and better," says Brezina. He adds "The ability to know detailed information about the embryos you are putting back in, it is a powerful thing."

No external sources of funding were used in this research.

Authors on the paper are Paul Brezina and William Kearns of Johns Hopkins; Andrew Benner of the Shady Grove Center of Preimplanation Genetics of Rockville, Md.; and Svetlana Rechitsky, AnverKuliev, Ekaterina Pomerantseva and Dana Pauling of Reproductive Genetics Institute of Chicago, Ill.

Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-05/jhmi-ngt052311.php