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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.


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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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July 10, 2012--------News Archive Return to: News Alerts

6 July, 2012 Volume 11, Issue 1
On the cover: The cover illustrates how lineage choices of human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are regulated at the epigenetic level.
In this issue, Ye et al. (pp. 50–61) report that histone demethylases
KDM4B and KDM6B, by removing trimethylated histone marks
(highlights on nucleosomes, top right),
promote osteogenic commitment of MSCs (top bone slice)
and inhibit adipogenesis (bottom bone slice).
Targeting KDM4B and KDM6B by controlling MSC fate
may represent a therapeutic strategy for metabolic
bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
The cover image was created by Bo Yu, DDS and Chaofeng Zhang.

WHO Child Growth Charts

       

Epigenetic Links in Cell-Fate Decisions Discovered

The ability to control whether certain stem cells ultimately become bone cells holds great promise for regenerative medicine and potential therapies aimed at treating metabolic bone diseases

Now, UCLA School of Dentistry professor and leading cancer scientist Dr. Cun-Yu Wang and his research team have made a significant breakthrough in that direction. The scientists have discovered two key epigenetic regulating genes that govern the cell-fate determination of human bone marrow stem cells.

Wang's new research is featured on the cover of the July 6 issue of Cell Stem Cell, the affiliated journal of the International Society for Stem Cell Research.

The groundbreaking study grew out of Wang's desire to understand the epigenetic regulation of stem cell differentiation, in which the structure of genes is modified while the sequence of the DNA is not.

He and his team found that KDM4B and KDM6B, two gene-activating enzymes, can promote stem cells' differentiation into bone cells by removing methyl markers from histone proteins. This process occurs through the activation of certain genes favoring a commitment to one lineage and the concurrent deactivation of genes favoring other lineages.

The findings imply that chemical manipulation of these gene-activating enzymes may allow stem cells to differentiate specifically into bone cells, while inhibiting their differentiation into fat cells.

The group's research could pave the way toward identifying potential therapeutic targets for stem cell–mediated regenerative medicine, as well as the treatment of bone disorders like osteoporosis, the most common type of metabolic bone disease.


"Through our recent discoveries on the lineage
decisions of human bone marrow stem cells,
we may be more effective in utilizing these stem cells
for regenerative medicine for bone diseases such as osteoporosis, as well as for bone reconstruction
.

However, while we know certain genes
must be turned on in order for the cells
to become bone-forming cells,
as opposed to fat cells,
we have only a few clues as to how
those genes are switched on."


Dr. Cun-Yu Wang


The research group, through its study of aging mice, found that the two enzymes KDM4B and KDM6B could specifically activate genes that promote stem cell differentiation toward bone, while blocking the route toward fat.


"In our aged mice, as well as osteoporotic mice,
we observed a higher amount of silencing histone
methyl groups which were normally removed
by the enzymes KDM4B and KDM6B
in young and healthier mice
.

Since these enzymes can be easily modified chemically,
they may become potential therapeutic targets in tissue
regeneration and treatment for osteoporosis."

Dr. Cun-Yu Wang


"The discovery that Dr. Wang and his team have made has considerable implications for craniofacial bone regeneration and treatment for osteoporosis," said Dr. No-Hee Park, dean of the UCLA School of Dentistry. "As a large portion of our population reaches an age where osteoporosis and gum disease could be major health problems, advancements in aging-related treatment are very valuable."

Professor Wang holds the No-Hee Park Endowed Chair in Dentistry at the UCLA School of Dentistry, where he is also chair of the division of oral biology and medicine and the associate dean for graduate studies.

The study was supported by grants from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

The UCLA School of Dentistry is dedicated to improving the oral health of the people of California, the nation and the world through its teaching, research, patient care and public service initiatives. The School provides education and training programs that develop leaders in dental education, research, the profession and the community; conducts research programs that generate new knowledge, promote oral health and investigate the cause, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of oral disease in an individualized disease-prevention and management model; and delivers patient-centered oral health care to the community and the state.

Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-07/uoc--urd070612.php