AI News, New microscope offers 4-D look at embryonic development in living mice

New microscope offers 4-D look at embryonic development in living mice

For the first time, researchers can now peek inside a living mouse embryo and watch the gut begin to form and heart cells take their first tentative beats.

Over a critical 48-hour window -- when rudimentary organs begin to take shape -- scientists can follow every embryonic cell and pinpoint where it went, what genes it turned on, and what cells it met along the way.

Such resources are critical for scientists trying to grow or regenerate organs, or to one day fix developmental problems that arise in the womb, says Kate McDole, a Janelia developmental biologist and study coauthor.

The researchers scanned fish embryos with a light sheet microscope, which shines ultrathin sheets of laser light through samples, section by incremental section.

Keller designed computer programs to make sense of all the imaging data, and the result offered a high-resolution glimpse into the first 24 hours of fish development.

Finally, during the time period the researchers wanted to observe, from six and a half to eight and a half days after fertilization, the embryo grows by more than an order of magnitude -- to almost three millimeters in diameter, about the length of a sesame seed.

Even a human camped out in the lab, adjusting the scope's focus every five minutes for two days, couldn't capture crisp images of the entire embryo, Keller says.

These algorithms map how the light sheet moves through the sample and then figure out how to get the best-looking images -- keeping the embryo focused and centered in the field of view.

Combined with a program the team created called statistical vector flow, the researchers could work backwards to figure out where each cell in the eight-and-a-half-day-old embryo came from, says study coauthor Léo Guignard, a computer scientist at Janelia.

(Doctor Who fans will recognize the program's name, TARDIS, a nod to the time and space machine used by the fictional doctor.) The new microscope is the sixth one Keller's team has developed in his eight years at Janelia;

Digital Fruit Fly Embryo

Digital fruit fly embryo, reconstructed from live imaging data recorded with a SiMView light-sheet microscope. Each colored circle in the image shows one of the ...

IsoView: Two-color imaging of Drosophila gastrulation

IsoView two-color imaging of Drosophila gastrulation. From left to right: dorsal, ventral, lateral-left, lateral-right and rotating maximum-intensity projections of a ...

Raghav Chhetri & Philipp Keller introduce the IsoView Light-Sheet Microscope

IsoView microscopy – Raghav Chhetri & Philipp Keller introduce the IsoView Light-Sheet Microscope.

Development of a fly embryo in real time

Development of a fly embryo in real time (Video) In an advance that could transform our understanding of the complex cellular dynamics that determine the ...

MPI-CBG Science Spotlight: Huisken Lab

The Huisken Lab is a multidisciplinary team that takes a systematic and quantitative approach to understand fundamental principles of developmental biology.

IsoView: Long-term Time Lapse Recording of Drosophila Embryo Development

Within less than a second, the new IsoView microscope produces images of entire organisms, such as a zebrafish or fruit fly embryo, with enough resolution in ...

Interaction of a T-cell with a Target Cell

Two-color volume rendering seen from two different orientations of the interaction of a T-cell expressing mEmerald-Lifeact (orange) with a target cell expressing ...

Reconstructed scan of zebrafish embryo

From Keller et al.:

Cell Lineage Reconstruction of Zebrafish Embryo Development

This video shows automated computational cell lineage reconstruction of zebrafish embryo development. Each circle represents one cell nucleus. The tails of ...

Flashes of Insight: Whole-Brain Imaging of Neural Activity in the Zebrafish

A new imaging technique designed by Philipp Keller and Misha Ahrens at HHMI's Janelia Research Campus captures the activity of an entire zebrafish brain, ...