Under the Microscope #3

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In this video, we see a mouse embryo developing. Dr Erica Watson tells us that studying this process helps us better understand human pregnancy.

Under the Microscope is a collection of videos that capture glimpses of the natural and man-made world in stunning close-up.

Erica Watson:
“The development of a fetus is elegant yet complex. Amazingly, most fetuses undergo a highly orchestrated sequence of events during development to produce a healthy baby. This suggests that a baby can adapt to changes in the womb, such as to the availability of nutrients from its mother. But how do these environmental changes affect the baby’s health in later life? And is it possible that these adverse changes will alter the development of generations to follow? In other words, does the environment that a baby develops in affect its grandchildren’s growth and development? Our research aims to understand these questions using a mouse model with a genetic mutation that prevents the normal breakdown folic acid (a vitamin). This mutation alters the metabolism of a mouse and causes long-lasting effects on the generations to come. Our hope is to find out how environmental changes caused by a genetic mutation are perpetuated into subsequent generations, even when these generations do not carry the mutation.

More information:
http://www.trophoblast.cam.ac.uk/people/watson.shtml

Department of Physiology, Development and Neurosciences:
http://www.pdn.cam.ac.uk/

School of Biological Sciences:
http://www.bio.cam.ac.uk

Graduate School of Life Sciences:
http://www.biomed.cam.ac.uk/gradschool

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