Friday Feature: The Virtual Fish

July 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Your Friday treat is a movie from Sean Megason’s lab of the development of a zebrafish ear.  Sean has a plan to provide a complete (“in toto”) image set describing the entire development of a vertebrate, using methods described here (Megason SG (2009). In toto imaging of embryogenesis with confocal time-lapse microscopy. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 546, 317-32 PMID: 19378112).  When the project is complete — which will not be tomorrow — there will be a movie recording every cell division, and every morphological rearrangement, that happens as a zebrafish egg turns into a functioning fish.  And then you will be able to sit at your computer and analyze vertebrate development without needing to get so much as a single finger wet.

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This is from a zebrafish embryo in which both the nucleus (green) and the membrane (red) of every cell has been fluorescently labeled.  If you watch carefully, you can see individual cells divide (one green blob becomes two) and move into new positions, creating (for example) the circle of cells that then opens up into the tube of the inner ear.


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