Early in her work here, Professor Muriel Davisson began exploring how abnormalities in chromosomes affect development.
Parents want the best for their children.
But that’s not always possible. From conception through birth and beyond, growth and development is a dizzyingly complex and precise process. And much can go awry.
Disruptions can occur even before conception with infertility, in the process of mixing genetic material as in Down syndrome, and during growth and tissue development, which can lead to birth defects.
Conception is a tricky business. About one in ten people is infertile, and most who are don't know it until they’re unable to have children. Laboratory researchers explore how eggs and sperm develop and what sometimes goes wrong, yielding more effective contraception options as well as hope for infertile couples.
People with trisomy 21, commonly known as Down syndrome, face a variety of developmental and cognitive challenges. The leading animal model for Down syndrome was developed at the Laboratory and provides vital information for researchers worldwide.
Craniofacial defects, which include cleft palate and missing teeth as well as more severe skull malformations, affect approximately one in 700 babies. To date Laboratory scientists have identified more than 100 heritable craniofacial abnormalities and characterized the genetic mutations for the research community.