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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 one million visitors each month.

Today, The Visible Embryo is linked to over 600 educational institutions and is viewed by more than 1 million visitors each month. The field of early embryology has grown to include the identification of the stem cell as not only critical to organogenesis in the embryo, but equally critical to organ function and repair in the adult human. The identification and understanding of genetic malfunction, inflammatory responses, and the progression in chronic disease, begins with a grounding in primary cellular and systemic functions manifested in the study of the early embryo.

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 SemestersDevelopmental TimelineFertilizationFirst TrimesterSecond TrimesterThird TrimesterFirst Thin Layer of Skin AppearsEnd of Embryonic PeriodEnd of Embryonic PeriodFemale Reproductive SystemBeginning Cerebral HemispheresA Four Chambered HeartFirst Detectable Brain WavesThe Appearance of SomitesBasic Brain Structure in PlaceHeartbeat can be detectedHeartbeat can be detectedFinger and toe prints appearFinger and toe prints appearFetal sexual organs visibleBrown fat surrounds lymphatic systemBone marrow starts making blood cellsBone marrow starts making blood cellsInner Ear Bones HardenSensory brain waves begin to activateSensory brain waves begin to activateFetal liver is producing blood cellsBrain convolutions beginBrain convolutions beginImmune system beginningWhite fat begins to be madeHead may position into pelvisWhite fat begins to be madePeriod of rapid brain growthFull TermHead may position into pelvisImmune system beginningLungs begin to produce surfactant
CLICK ON weeks 0 - 40 and follow along every 2 weeks of fetal development




 

Aug 26, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Two proteins preserve vital genetic information
Understanding every aspect of cell division helps explain the origins of key genetic disorders, including cancers. Cancer is often driven by genetic mutations acquired over time to a person's DNA. Alterations can occur if proteins do not properly organize and separate as cells divide and multiply.

Aug 25, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

A molecular alarm clock wakes resting eggs
At the start of reproductive life an ovary contains, on average, several thousand immature eggs (ovules) in a resting state — that can last for decades. But how does each resting egg know at what time to prepare for ovulation?

Aug 24, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Risk factors for preterm birth can be changed
A significant portion of preterm births might be avoided by reducing or eliminating any one of three major risk factors.

Aug 23, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Zika infection may affect adult brain cells
New findings suggest brain risk may not be limited to fetuses of pregnant women. Some adult brain cells may be vulnerable to infection as well.

Aug 22, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

How fish fins became fingers

One of the great transformations for descendants of fish was to become creatures that walk on land, with thick, sturdy "toes" replacing their long, elegant fins. Scientists from the University of Chicago now know how the same cells which make fin rays in fish, form fingers and toes in animals.

Aug 19, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Plastic BPS chemical harms human egg cells

In a new study, UCLA researchers have found that Bisphenol S (BPS) is just as harmful to the reproductive system as bisphenol A (BPA), the chemical it is supposed to replace. In fact, BPS damages a woman's eggs at lower doses than BPA.

Aug 18, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Customizing breast milk for premature children

About 7 percent of all Danish children are born prematurely. This is significant to the child and affects a mother's body which unexpectedly must produce nutrition for her newborn.

Aug 17, 2016
-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Mom in Single Family NICU room is best for preemies
Research has established the single greatest contributor to long-term neuro and behavioral development in preterm infants is mothers' care. This is found in single-family room Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) that allow the most immediate opportunity for a mother's involvement.

Aug 16, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Jaw-dropping research explains how mouth forms

Whitehead Institute researchers have identified the pre-mouth area in faces of developing embryonic frogs. This area "unzips" to form the mouth. The research highlights the precision needed to create a mouth and identifies the processes driving mouth formation.

Aug 15, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

A vaccine for strep throat and rheumatic fever?
Researchers from Griffith University's Institute for Glycomics have announced that they will begin Phase 1 clinical trials on a new, needle-free vaccine targeted at Streptococcus A infection, the cause of strep throat and rheumatic heart disease.

Aug 12, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Is there a 'mother's curse' ?

There is new evidence that "the mother's curse", or a moms' ability to transmit genes that harm her sons — but not her daughters, holds true in all animals.

Aug 11, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Non-Zika microcephaly helps explain brain growth

Protein that helps new born brain cells divide, also plays a key role in brain expansion. Long before Zika virus became a household word, microcephaly as a birth defect puzzled scientists and doctors.

Aug 10, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Tall or short, thick or thin what affects limb size?

For over 60 years, scientists have theorized that a person's body shape and size can be influenced by the climate where they live. Now a new study from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, suggests there may be more to the equation.

Aug 9, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Signals that trigger labor and delivery

Researchers believe they now know more about what signals the start of labor and delivery, perhaps better understanding triggers of preterm delivery.

Aug 8, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Breakthrough in how stem cells become specialized

Scientists have made a major advance in understanding how cells, each containing all the same genetic information, become diverse. It seems the OCT4 protein primes specific genes to begin differentiation.

Aug 5, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

The force is strong — with embryo cells

The strength of inner contractions determines whether a cell becomes part of the embryo or part of the placenta. At the cell level, this is determined by the staggered amount of proteins produced which drives a cell to contract or stop contracting.

Aug 4, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Common diabetes drug may help prevent preterm birth

Metformin, a medication routinely used by millions with type 2 diabetes, plays an unexpected role in blocking a significant cause of preterm birth, according to new research.

Aug 3, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Origin of the female orgasm

Female orgasm has been described as a happy afterthought of evolution — unnecessary, but fun! Now, a new study in mammals shows that the female orgasm actually helps stimulate ovulation.

Aug 2, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Breastfeeding builds better brains

Pre-term babies fed more breast milk in the first 28 days of life have a larger volume of gray matter, a better IQ, academic achievement in memory and motor function by age 7.

Aug 1, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Embryonic gene, Nanog, can reverse cell aging

The fountain of youth may reside in a gene in embryonic stem cells called Nanog. It's discovery may lead to treatments for age-related disorders such as atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's and Progeria syndrome in children.

Jul 29, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Makeup therapy in a down economy

During tough economic times, women engage in the "lipstick effect," stocking up on cosmetics and beauty products — a simple and familiar way to address their personal economic situation.

Jul 28, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Cinnamon may be a fragrant medicine for the brain
If new research is confirmed, the standard advice for failing students might one day be: Study harder and eat your cinnamon!

Jul 27, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

A molecule for making friends

The Urocortin-3 molecular helps mice and humans find new friends according to research from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry.

Jul 26, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Pyramid cells cluster, vibrate and signal our brain
Our cerebral cortex acts like a vast switchboard, with countless lines carrying information about our changing environment — gathered from our sensory organs. The flow of this data is directed by individual pyramid cells clustered like bells on a dendrite chord, signalling our brain for attention.

Jul 25, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

How environmental stresses cause birth defects
For the first time, scientists believe they've discovered a direct cause for multiple birth defects from environmental stress.

Jul 22, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Virus found in women with unexplained infertility

A new study has found that a little-known human herpesvirus — HHV-6A — infects the uterine lining in 43% of women with unexplained infertility. It was not found in fertile women.

Jul 21, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Pregnant nicotine exposure higher than reported

More women may be smoking and/or exposed to nicotine during pregnancy than previously thought, says a new study from Cincinnati Children's Hospital in collaboration with Cradle Cincinnati.

Jul 20, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Cells send out stop/go signals to extend nerves

Molecules can send signals across great distances to make neurons extend as well as retract their growth.

Jul 19, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Anatomy of a decision
In the first genome-scale experiment of its kind, researchers have seen how a mouse embryo first transforms from a ball of unfocussed cells (gastrula) into a structured embryo.

Jul 18, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Sound waves to separate twin placentas?

High-energy sound waves could treat a potentially deadly complication of some twin pregnancies — TTTS or Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, affecting one in seven identical twin pregnancies.

Jul 15, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Selfish mitochondria implicated in diseases
Mitochondria produce most of the chemical energy that powers a cell. Likewise, their dysfunction is associated with a wide variety of illnesses: autism, Alzheimer's, dementia, schizophrenia, Parkinson's, epilepsy, stroke, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome as well as cardiovascular disease.

Jul 14, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Powering up: growing neurons make an energy jump

Our brains can survive only for a few minutes without oxygen. Research has now identified that a dramatic metabolic shift occurs in developing neurons, from glucose to oxygen as their primary source of energy.

Jul 13, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Virus in pregnancy linked to austim disorders

Findings in mice may help explain how viral infection during pregnancy raises the risk for autism and schizophrenia in mouse pups — and humans.

Jul 12, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Bipolar disorder link to striatum brain region

Bipolar disorder is one of the most-studied neurological disorders. The Greeks noticed symptoms of the disease in the first century. But, science has been overlooking a possible brain region for its source - the striatum.

Jul 11, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Epigenetics could explain puzzle of diabetes inheritance

A mother's diet in pregnancy can permanently affect her child — and could be strongly influenced by genetic variation in an unexpected part of the genome — her ribosomal DNA.

Jul 8, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Many common chemicals endanger brain development

Scientists, health practitioners and child advocates are calling attention to growing evidence that common and widely used chemicals endanger neurodevelopment in the fetus as well as in children of all ages.

Jul 7, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Children's immune cells may explain all their illnesses

New research shows immune systems of young mice secrete low levels of the cytokine — CD4 T — needed for survival during infection. By comparison, older mice secret more.

Jul 6, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

"Feeling good" stimulates immune system

Feeling good may help our bodies fight germs better, according to results from experiments with mice. When activated, nerve cells that signal emotional reward also boost mouse immune systems.

Jul 5, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

How the Pentagone protein controls development
How do the cells in a human embryo know their current location — or where to go next? Why do some cells form a finger, but not others? University of Freiburg biologists in Germany believe the protein Pentagone controls these steps in the fruit fly — and perhaps in humans as well.

Jul 4, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Why does mitochondria DNA only come from mom?

Like most cells, sperm contain energy-producing mitochondria. However, once a sperm fertilizes an egg, its own mitochondria break down. Scientists have a new clue to why the most mitochondrial DNA is passed down to children from their mothers — and not their fathers.

Jul 1, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Finding human development's first gear
A research team has identified that 4 genes operate for only a few hours in the earliest stages of life, to perform as "first gear'" in the shift into a human embryo.

Jun 30, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Study shows Zika infection longer in pregnancy

Research with monkeys has shown that a first infection with the Zika virus protects against future infections. But with pregnancy, Zika stays in the body a drastically long time.

Jun 29, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Daughters of obese mouse dads risk breast cancer

Obese male mice and normal weight female mice produce female pups that are overweight at birth through childhood, have delayed development of their breast tissue, and have increased rates of breast cancer.

Jun 28, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

CDC clinical trial for experimental Zika vaccine

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has approved clinical trial status for another experimental Zika vaccine. The drug will be tested on a small sample of human participants, a mere five months after the World Health Organization declared Zika a public health emergency.

Jun 27, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Saint Louis University to launch Zika vaccine trial

Saint Louis University's (SLU) vaccine center has been tapped by the National Institutes of Health to conduct a human clinical trial of a vaccine to prevent the Zika virus, which can cause devastating birth defects in babies.

Jun 24, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Loss of essential protein linked to hydrocephalus
Researchers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have developed mice lacking the Alix protein, in order to study hydrocephalus or "water on the brain." Alix orients epithelial cells in the brain's choroid plexus in order to prevent compromises to the brain's barrier layer.

Jun 23, 2016
-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Low thyroid in pregnancy risks schizophrenia in baby
Study links a mother's untreated low thyroid hormone levels during pregnancy with a 2% increased risk for her child having neurodevelopmental disorders — such as autism, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

Jun 22, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Teen poor attention control risk for anxiety disorders
Research has found that poor attention control in the early teen years is related to a genetic risk factor that can latter appear in the adult as an anxiety disorder — presenting as (1) educational underachievement, (2) depression, (3) drug dependence, or perhaps even (4) suicidal behavior.

Jun 21, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Pregnant diet can affect multiple generations
New research suggests that even before becomming pregnant, women who eat high-fat, high-sugar diets can predispose multiple generations to metabolic problems, even though their children consume healthy diets.

Jun 20, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

New insights uncovered in Prader-Willi syndrome
Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a rare genetic disease characterized by hyperphagia — a chronic feeling of hunger — coupled with a metabolism that uses drastically fewer calories than normal, leading to excessive eating/obesity in patients with the disease.

Jun 17, 2016
-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Breastmilk best for premature baby's heart
For the first time, breastfeeding is linked to better cardiac structure and function in adults born prematurely.

Jun 16, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Gene mutation found explaining multiple sclerosis

Although multiple sclerosis (MS) is seen to run in certain families, attempts to find genes linked to the disease have been elusive. For the first time, researchers are now reporting a gene mutation connected directly to the disease.

Jun 15, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Individuals respond differently to Zika?
One of Zika's mysteries is how the virus passes from an infected mother, through the placenta, to a developing fetus. The route may not be direct either — transmission via multiple cell types may be necessary as it is transmitted through several routes, including mosquito bites, sexual contact, and blood transfusion.

Jun 14, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Moving can be hazardous to your child's health

Adverse effects were found in adults who had to change homes in childhood, according to a long-term study of 1.4 million Danish children.

Jun 13, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

How melanin gives color to skin, hair and eyes
A year and a half ago, Brown University researchers found a molecular gas pedal that increases melanin production. Now, they have found its brake. Understanding how color enters our eyes, skin and hair, helps explain albinism, or when color doesn't get produced at all.

Jun 10, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Babies really are cute!
What is it about the sight of an infant that makes almost everyone smile? Big eyes, dewy skin, chubby cheeks, that little nose? An infectious laugh and a captivating smell? While we agree that babies look cute, Oxford University research has found cuteness is designed to appeal to every sense.

Jun 9, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Your biological clock has a time stamp
Yale School of Medicine researchers have identified the molecular paths involved in aging of human eggs. Such research may eventually lead to correcting age-related damage and improve fertility in women 40 years and older.

Jun 8, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Maternal effects of smoking continue long after birth

According to a new Yale-led study, early exposure to nicotine can trigger widespread genetic changes that affect brain cell synapses long after birth. The findings help explain why maternal smoking links to behavior changes such as attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and addiction.

Jun 7, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

A brain clock keeps our memories ticking

Just as members of an orchestra need a conductor to stay on tempo, neurons in the brain need well-timed waves of synapses to organize memories.

Jun 6, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Gene sequencing diagnoses rare newborn diseases

Canada is examining the need for next-generation gene sequencing of newborns in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Their hope is to improve the diagnosis of rare diseases and deliver results quickly to anxious families.

Jun 3, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

The developmental origins of culture

New research investigates how our increasingly global community transmits skills and behaviors across generations. How do children divine strategies to understand and adopt social practices, beliefs, and values from their societies?

Jun 2, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

How the brain makes — and breaks — a habit

Neuroscience is identifying brain chemicals and neural paths that help us switch from habitual behavior into deliberate decision making.

Jun 1, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Money really does matter in relationships

Money has a significant impact on romantic relationships, finds a new study from China. Our romantic choices are not just based on feelings and emotions, but how rich we feel compared to others.

May 31, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Executive power — developes from the nursery

A baby's cry not only commands our attention, it rattles our executive function — the exact cognitive thinking we use to make everyday decisions, according to a new University of Toronto study.

May 30, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Can lifespan be extended by point of view?

Tricking C. elegans into a state of calorie restriction can extend the worm's lifespan by 50 percent — which suggests such diet "tricks" might work for humans too.

May 27, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Mitochondrial DNA therapy still imperfect
Mitochondrial replacement therapy is a procedure showing promise for preventing inheritance of mitochondrial diseases. However, small amounts of damanaged mtDNA — mitochondrial DNA — are now found to hitch a ride with the transferred nucleus, and recreate mtDNA errors in the baby.

May 26, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Eating fruit prenatally boosts babies' cognition

A University of Alberta, Canada, study discovers a previously unknown benefit to pregnant moms and their babies — increasing the amount of fruit in moms' diet increases baby's cognitive abilities.

May 25, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

BPA in pregnancy can put baby on course to obesity

Prenatal exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA), a common chemical used in plastic water bottles and canned food, is associated with obesity in children at age 7. Ninetyfour percent of pregnant women studied had detectable levels of BPA, a chemical also used in paper shopping receipts.

May 24, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Genes for nose shape identified

Genes that drive the shape of human noses have been identified by a University College of London (UCL) study. These four genes affect the width and 'pointiness' of noses which vary greatly between different populations.

May 23, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Neurons must wriggle to reach their final destination

As our brain develops, microtubules give nerve cells a boost along their way. With attachment help from motor proteins, microtubules send neurons from their birthplace to make a trip towards their final locations. Once there, they pop out axons and dendrites to receive and send sensory signals.

May 20, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Atlas of Human Malformation Syndromes being created

A photographic resource is being made which will help diagnosis of genomic diseases in patients around the world.

May 19, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Fathers' age and lifestyle linked to birth defects

A growing body of research reveals an association between a father's age and alcohol use, and birth defects in his children. Georgetown University Medical Center researchers believe these epigenetic alterations can potentially affect multiple generations.

May 18, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

A safe way to deliver drugs to the placenta

For the first time, researchers have devised a way to deliver drugs via a pregnant woman's placenta without harming her fetus. This development could help prevent some premature births and treat conditions such as pre-eclampsia.

May 17, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Zika causes neural stem cells to self-destruct
A new study reveals human neural stem cells infected with the Zika virus trigger an innate immune response that leads to cell death. The work is adding to the growing number of studies using brain organoids — made from reprogrammed human embryonic stem cells — to understand how the Zika virus leads to microcephaly.

May 16, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Scientists map brain to decode inner thoughts

Neuroimaging reveals detailed word maps criss-cross the human cerebral cortex, mapping our encounters and "sticking" experiences to verbal cues.

May 13, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

You are what you eat!

Indiana University biologists have mapped genetic pathways in dung beetles to find how maternal nutrition affects developing larva.

May 12, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Twin study finds gut microbiomes run in families
A United Kingdom genome-wide analysis of over 1,000 twins reveals that parts of our microbiome are shaped not only through the spread of external microbes given from parent to child, but through genetic inheritance.

May 11, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Another reason to breastfeed

Breast milk supports immune responses in newborns that help the infant's gut become a healthy home to a mix of necessary bacteria.

May 10, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Breast milk fed preemies show larger brain growth
Preemies fed breast milk developed larger brains by their original due date, than preemies consuming small amounts of breastmilk or none.

May 9, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

An aggregate of protein in nerve cells can cause ALS

People with ALS, can have a genetic mutation causing the protein SOD1 to aggregate in motor neurons of the brain and spinal cord. Research has found that SOD1 injected into mice nerve cells, spreads rapidly and leads to ALS.

May 6, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

How did human limbs evolve?

Sharks, skates, and rays are odd. They have appendages growing out of their gill arch — a small cradle of bones that supports their gills. This peculiarity has led to the idea that our own legs and arms, and longer ago the paired fins of fish, evolved from transforming gill arches in very early fish.

May 5, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Asynchronous waves key to embryo development
Researchers find wave like timing in stages of cell division act like a switch to regulate formation of the spine.

May 4, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

A cell's 'fuel gauge' promotes healthy development
Salk Institute scientists have found how a cellular "fuel gauge", responsible for monitoring and managing cell energy, has another unexpected role. Without it, cells won't know when to "clean up" or how to recycle cell waste — a forerunner to diabetes and cancer.

May 3, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Safe, inexpensive chemical reverses progeria

A new finding could lead to treatments for rare genetic illness and normal aging. New work from the University of Maryland suggests that a common, inexpensive and safe chemical called methylene blue could be used to treat progeria — and possibly symptoms of normal aging as well.

May 2, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Confused cell signals lead to genetic disorders

The scientific and medical community is working to understand how subtle changes in the LMNA gene cause so many genetic disorders of the nerve, heart and muscles, as well as premature aging.

Apr 29, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Experimental drug cancels affect of Fragile X gene

Study of the most common genetic intellectual disability, Fragile X, has found an experimental drug can reverse — in mice — damage from the gene mutation causing the defect.

Apr 28, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Preschool nurturing boosts child's brain growth

Mothers' loving support is linked to robust growth of brain area involved in learning, memory, and stress response.

Apr 27, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Too much 'noise' can affect brain development

Biologists have determined that uncontrolled fluctuations (or "noise) in the derivative of vitamin A , Retinoic acid (RA), can disrupt brain development.


Apr 26, 2016
-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Human patterns follow the same cues as bacteria

Researchers believe the same chemical signals control pattern formation in bacteria and animals. Genetically modified bacteria help explain how all developing animals keep body parts and organs in relative proportion as every other member of its species.

Apr 25, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

The unique biology of human breast milk
Humans may have the most complex breast milk of all mammals. Milk from a human mother contains more than 200 different sugar molecules, way above the average 30-50 found in mouse or cow milk.

Apr 22, 2016------
News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Clues to how cells repair broken DNA
Our genetic material is stored in the nucleus of each of our cells — protected from constant environmental and metabolic assault. But over a life-time, DNA will suffer damage. Although cells have a host of ways to deal with injury, sometimes things go wrong.

Apr 21, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

First protein crystal structure corrects wrong theory
Reb1 protein binds to DNA sequences, in one instance to control how DNA is transcribed into RNA; in the other, how DNA is replicated before cell division. This is the first time researchers were able to see the crystal form of Reb1 and find that it didn't perform as expected.

Apr 20, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Deletions on chromosome 22, one cause of autism?
Genomic research has found a portion of chromosome 22 is missing in some autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and may be associated with many other neuropsychiatric disorders.

Apr 19, 2016------
News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Microvesicles for brain radiation recovery?
Stem cells show promise for treating brain regions damaged by cancer radiation treatment. Now, research has found microscopic vesicles give similar benefit without some stem cell associated risks.

Apr 18, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

New type of cell death may help neurons regenerate
A new type of cell death found in C elegans mimics cell death seen in human neurons, and may lead to regenerative therapies for human neuron injury.

Apr 15, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Single-cell embryos can be chimeras
Researchers have found errors in single cell embryos which can lead to entire sets of maternal and paternal chromosomes being unevenly distributed — making them chimeras.

Apr 14, 2016------
News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Trophoblast cells unlikely entry point for Zika
One theory — that Zika virus enters the developing fetus by passing through the trophoblasts, a layer of placental cells that surround and nurture the fetus — is disproved. But configuring a new mouse model for the disease reveals that type-I interferon resists Zika.

Apr 13, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Gene found in cleft palate defect

Experts feel this discovery will help development of medical approaches to prevent the condition.

Apr 12, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

An overfed fetus can become an overweight teen
High levels of certain blood markers in your baby's umbilical cord indicate if your baby has more fat than normal — and if so, suggest that your baby will continue gaining more fat into late childhood and adolescence.

Apr 11, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Three generations affected by one DDT exposure

DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) a weed killer long recognized as a health threat to the human endocrine system — banned in 1972 — is still carried in third and sometimes fourth generation exposed descendants.

Apr 8, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

How early female human embryo controls X
There are considerable differences in embryo development between humans and mice, the most commonly used animal model. Research reveals human X chromosome genes are regulated differently.

Apr 7, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Abnormalities in early embryos may self correct

Abnormal cells in the early embryo are not necessarily a sign the baby will be born with a birth defect, suggests new research in mice from the University of Cambridge.

Apr 6, 2016
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News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

How to prevent asthma in your newborn?
The best way to reduce a child's chances of developing asthma might be to make sure mom has enough vitamin D during her second trimester.

Apr 5, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Protein on neural stem cell is hijacked by Zika virus
Zika is attracted to human neural stem cells, perhaps because it can hijack a protein found on the surface of those cells and use it to enter the cell.

Apr 4, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Fragile X in mice responds to experimental drug
Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) is an inherited cause of intellectual disability, especially in boys. Cognitive impairment in neuro-developmental disorders like FXS is thought to be due to changes in the brain which alter synaptic connections.

Apr 1, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Born to run?

A new study suggests love of exercise starts in the womb. Baylor College of Medicine research has found that female mice that voluntarily exercise during pregnancy, have pups more physically active as adults.

Mar 31, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Unraveling stem cells

Neuroscientists document the first steps in the process of a stem cell transforming into a different cell type.

Mar 30, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Rewrite the text books!
We know alot about how embryos develop, but how they implant into the uterus - has remained a mystery. Now, scientists from Cambridge have discovered a way to study and film this 'black box' of development.

Mar 29, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Fetal or placental cells?
Genetic 'signatures' of early-stage embryos confirm development begins as early as the second day after conception, when we are a mere four cells. According to new research, even though appearing to be identical, two day-old embryo cells have subtle but important differences.

Mar 28, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Precision medicine targets Lupus

Precision medicine is developing as a new field to deliver highly personalized health care. In order to proceed, it must understand how individual genes, environment and lifestyle impact any disease that may affect a patient.

Mar 25, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Cell 'rejuvenation' relies on telomeres

Scientists have discovered the protein Zscan4, once believed to affect stem cell pluripotency, is actually a cell repair mechanism triggered by cell division.

Mar 24, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

PKU effect on brain more extensive than thought
The "heel stick" test is given at birth to every infant in the USA in order to detect Phenylketonuria (PKU). One in 10,000 children are found to have PKU, which is then treated through a restricted diet. Its rarity and relative ease of treatment has lead PKU to seldom be studied since the late 1960s.

Mar 23, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

A possible treatment for autism-like symptoms

The anti-anxiety drug clonazepam reduces autistic behaviors in mice with Jacobsen syndrome. About half of children born with Jacobsen, a rare inherited disorder, experience social and behavioral issues found in autism spectrum disorders.

Mar 22, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Complex learning dismantles barriers in the brain
By learning a complex task over an extended period of time, each of us has the power to break down barriers in our brains once thought to be permanent.

Mar 21, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Can we turn off Alzheimer's disease?

Russian scientists have found a 'trigger' to Alzheimer's. By figuring out the steps involved in it's development, they may possibly have determined the trigger event beginning the conversion of normal proteins into the plaques of Alzheimer's.

Mar 18, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

A new kind of stem cell?
Scientists at Michigan State University have discovered properties in stem cell "garbage" that may advance regenerative medicine and ways to study birth defects.

Mar 17, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Genes can cause neurological diseases

Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) is a genetic disease that causes wasting away of the cerebellum — the portion of our brain responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movement, like walking, speaking, even the direction our eyes move.

Mar 16, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Brown fat in adults follows circadian rhythm
A baby's brown fat is known to protect it from cold temperatures. Now research has discovered brown fat in some adults also follows our circadian rhythm and may offer protection from cold and from diabetes.

Mar 15, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Mom's bacterial infection can change fetal brain

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital discovers how pieces of bacteria cross the placenta and alter fetal brain anatomy affecting cognitive function after birth.

Mar 14, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Zika virus breakthrough
Florida State University research has found that the Zika virus creates birth defects by specifically targeting and stunting the growth of developing brain cells.

Mar 11, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Lack of stem cells causes recurring miscarriages

Scientists at the University of Warwick have discovered that a lack of stem cells in the womb lining is causing thousands of women to suffer from recurrent miscarriages.

Mar 10, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

A first: earliest stages of human stem cell lines

Scientists in the United Kingdom show it is possible to create so-called 'naïve' pluripotent stem cells from a human embryo. 'Naïve' pluripotent stem cells are the most flexible stem cells, and can develop into all human tissue except the placenta.

Mar 9, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

One microRNA may affect many neuro disorders

Only discovered in the 1990s, microRNAs are short molecules working within virtually all of our cells. New research now identifies one with strong links to a number of neuropsychiatric disorders, including autism.

Mar 8, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Common gene links obesity to diabetes

The P53 tumor suppressor gene helps every bit of our general metabolism work. A new study reveals how it may have come about in our early ancestors — and how when mutated, it turns into cancer.

Mar 7, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Perception of constant stress is passed on...
For decades science has shown environmental stress experienced in one generation induces change in the biochemistry affecting the next generation. But how ecological conditions stimulate such responses — with differing results in multiple species — is perplexing.

Mar 4, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Snail shells help solve origins of body symmetry

An international team has found the gene that determines whether a snail shell will twist clockwise or counter-clockwise. This same gene may affect our own body symmetry.

Mar 3, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Trimmer snips jumping genes

A Pac-Man-like enzyme called "Trimmer," protects sperm and eggs from genetic rewriting by our "jumping genes."

Mar 2, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Mom's high alcohol level disrupts neonatal brain

Slow-wave sleep — or deep sleep which converts daily events into permanent memories — is fragmented in adults exposed to high levels of alcohol in the womb.

Mar 1, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Amino acids help kids overcome fetal malnutrition

Inadequate essential Amino Acids lead to stunted growth in millions. Worldwide, an estimated 25 percent of children under age 5 suffer from stunted growth and development.

Feb 29, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Zika virus linked to stillbirth, loss of brain tissue

In January came the first case associating Zika virus to damage outside the central nervous system. An infected Brazilian woman gave birth to a stillborn baby with signs of severe tissue swelling and central nervous system defects causing near total brain loss.

Feb 26, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

How to regenerate peripheral nerves

Controlling the timing of immune response to nerve damage may be key to promoting nerve cell repair.

Feb 25, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

How the nervous system trims its branches
As tiny embryos, we start out with a lot more neuronal material than we actually need. During development, our body drastically prunes excess by cutting branches from nerves — axons — and sometimes entire neurons.

Feb 24, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Teaching stem cells to build muscle

New research shows young muscle stem cells can "teach" adult muscle cells to regenerate. Scientists have found a key to enhancing repair of damaged muscle.

Feb 23, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

'Pump' mechanism splits DNA for copying by RNA

High-resolution images offer new insight into the structure of the replisome, a molecular protein machine that unwinds, splits, and copies double-stranded DNA.

Feb 22, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Stressed dads give offspring high blood sugar
Mouse fathers under psychological stress were more likely to have offspring with high blood sugar than unstressed dads.

Feb 19, 2016------News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Cell division errors: infertility, disorders and cancers
New insight into faulty cell formation helps us understand why congenital disorders such as Down's syndrome and perhaps infertility occur.

Feb 18, 2016
-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Copper key to brain cell development
Chemical change spurs the rapid transport of copper. Researchers at Johns Hopkins used a precision sensor in a chicken embryo and found dramatic differences between the use of copper in developing and fully mature neurons.

Feb 17, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Bioelectric signals influence facial symmetry

A rare genetic disorder may also shed light on fetal alcohol syndrome and other fetal conditions of facial symmetry.

Feb 16, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Potential to treat hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
More than 15 years ago, researchers discovered the precise malfunction of a specific protein in the heart that leads to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a common culprit in the sudden death of young athletes.

Feb 15, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Fluorescent proteins light up living cells
Tracing proteins in cells is like looking for a needle in a haystack. But, in order to locate such proteins and decipher their function in living cells, researchers can now label them with fluorescent molecules.

Feb 12, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Tuning the volume on gene expression

Research finds genes can be turned on and off, or finely adjusted as if controlled by a volume control knob.

Feb 11, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Linking fetal to adult brain disorders

Using mice as their model animal, scientists have outlined the possible mechanics behind some common neurodevelopment disorders.

Feb 10, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

A quick, simple way to generate neural crest cells
Research led by the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside (UC Riverside) provides a quick, simple and trackable way to generate neural crest cells.

Feb 9, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

New drug target for Rett syndrome

Researchers have identified a faulty neural pathway that can be corrected in mice to releave symptoms of Rett syndrome.

Feb 8, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

RNA quick — Protein slow

A team of scientists has uncovered intricate signaling as it applies to making RNA and proteins. Both occur almost at the same moment, but at two unique frequencies.

Feb 5, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Mitochondria trigger cell aging

Our cell batteries also trigger our aging! An international team of scientists has for the first time shown that mitochondria, the batteries of the cells, are essential for ageing.

Feb 4, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

How to precisely regulate RNA polymerase?

Scientists have developed a way to analyze and modify phosphorylation sites on the RNA polymerase II enzyme, which is responsible for copying and expressing (turning on) genes.

Feb 3, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

New app helps doctors predict preterm birth

A new app called QUiPP can help doctors better identify women at risk of giving premature birth. Developed at King's College London, the app was tested in two studies of high-risk women monitored at ante-natal clinics.

Feb 2, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Found - protein that turns off biological clock

A protein associated with many kinds of cancer cells, can suppress the circadian clock running every cell's 24 hour cycle. This result has implications not only for cancer treatment, but for re-working the clock itself.

Feb 1, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Virus in pregnancy causes autism-like behavior

A new study in pregnant mice suggests that blocking immune reaction to a virus, can restore normal brain structures in mice pups that would otherwise be damaged by a mother's inflammatory response.

Jan 29, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

A gene that allows for a new species?
Between different species, each with their own specific number of chromosomes, any offspring will be infertile or unable to survive. However, scientists were able to inter-breed two species of fruit flies by knocking out one gene — "gfzf."

Jan 28, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

3 Autism-linked molecules wire up neurons

New research from Duke University reveals how three proteins work together to wire up a specific area of the brain responsible for processing sensory input.

Jan 27, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Donor's genome impacts iPS cell outcomes
Induced pluripotent stem cells [iPS cells] made from different body cells are equally capable of being reprogrammed — no matter what organ cells they originated from. But, the genotype of a donor does affect their differentiation behavior, according to a recent study from Finland.

Jan 26, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

What you eat can influence how you sleep
A new study suggests that your daily intake of fiber, saturated fat and sugar may impact your quality of sleep.

Jan 25, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Brain receptor regulates fat burning in cells
Decreasing levels of the neurotrophin p75 receptor prevented obesity and metabolic disease in mice who were fed a high-fat diet.

Jan 22, 2016
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News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Diverse gut microbes increase infection resistance
Spending time in close contact with others often means risking catching germs and getting sick. But being sociable can also transmit 'good' microbes, finds a study in chimpanzees.

Jan 21, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Zika virus, linked to birth defects, is spreading
The Zika virus, possibly linked to serious birth defects in Brazil, has the potential to spread within the Americas, including parts of the United States, according to an international team of researchers tracking the spread of infectious diseases.

Jan 20, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Eat fish in pregnancy to improve baby's brain

Researchers at Tohoku University's School of Medicine have found why eating fish during pregnancy correlates with the health of the baby's brain.

Jan 19, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Turning epigenetic marks OFF!

Epigenetics is defined as heritable changes made to a gene. But these changes are not in the DNA sequence itself — they come from methyl groups added to the DNA strand. Now, research has identified 2 proteins that can remove methylation marks from DNA.

Jan 18, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Cell signal strength turns on early stem cells
Stem cells work like handymen, repairing damaged tissues and renewing other tissues such as our skin. Scientists understand more about how stem cells work in adults, but less about how they work in an embryo.

Jan 15, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Slow stem cell division causes small brain?
Duke University research has followed the development of microcephaly, which produces a much smaller brain than normal, to find stem cells were simply moving too slowly when constructing neurons in affected brains.

Jan 14, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Healing muscular dystrophy with CRISPR
The red-hot genome editing tool known as CRISPR has scored another achievement — researchers have used it to treat a severe form of muscular dystrophy in mice.

Jan 13, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Of protein kinases, embryos and cancer
Protein kinases play an important role in how embryos develop. They also are becoming targets for cancer research.

Jan 12, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Can having more children slow down aging?
A study by Simon Fraser University suggests that the number of children born to a woman influences the rate at which her body ages — for the better!

Jan 11, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Uterine microorganisms may set stage for disease

Experts review the potential influence of a developing infant's microbiome on its' own potential birth defects and childhood diseases.

Jan 8, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

A mathematical model for animal stripes
The back of a tiger could have been a blank canvas. Instead, nature painted the big cat with parallel stripes, evenly spaced and perpendicular to its' spine. Scientists don't know exactly how stripes develop, but mathematicians since the 1950s have been modeling possible scenarios.

Jan 7, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Physics attempts to explain why stem cells move

Research has shed light on the complex interactions of stem cells and molecular diffusion in brain tissue. The calculations may explain phenomena such as stem cell differentiation and even the formation of the cortex of our brain.

Jan 6, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Epigenetic change leads to cerebellum circuitry
Before birth and throughout childhood connections form and continue to form between neurons in the brain. To date, scientists have a pretty good understanding of how these circuits functionally get set up. But, they don't know how much is the result of our DNA template — and how much is epigenetic.

Jan 5, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Id tags define developing neural circuits
The human brain is composed of circuits made up of neurons, cells specialized to transmit information via electrochemical signals. Like the circuits in a computer, these neuronal circuits must connect in very unique ways in order to function. But with billions in a single human brain, how does a neuron make the right connection with the right cell?

Jan 4, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

Mechanism for how organs branch found
The lung is as much a natural work of art as a functioning organ with its twisting bronchial branches and delicate curls. Now Princeton researchers have observed this artistry unfold. While growing mouse embryo lungs, they arrived at a surprising conclusion about forces to help shape lungs.

Jan 1, 2016-----News ArchiveLatest research covered daily, archived weekly

How to multiply teeth!

Teeth are a major target of regenerative medicine. Research has now found a way to — literally — multiply their number. Testing in mice, researchers extracted teeth germs — groups of cells formed early in development that grow into teeth, split them in two, and then re-implant them into mice jaws to develop into fully functional teeth

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