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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Observing life in three days

European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg, Germany developed a new light sheet microscope that can allow scientists to view first two to three days of mouse’s embryo’s life starting from the development of fertilized egg to the stage of implant of mother’s uterus. The findings and methods were published in Nature methods.

Scientists can now view and track the first days of a mouse embryo's life. 
Source: EMBL/ Julius Hossain


“When I first saw the videos, I said ‘This is a breakthrough – nobody has ever seen this before!’” says Jan Ellenberg, who led the work. “The beginning of our own lives looks like this, and we could never look at it before. Now there’s so much we can learn!” (as reported to EMBL news release) Please view the following videos.


Giving rise of first cell to daughter cell, then to granddaughter cells and so on now can be tracked easily at any given moment to know each cell’s family tree. This would enable the scientists to identify crucial turning point in life of embryonic stage.

The finding:
In an embryo of eight (8) cells, the direction of division changes being random for single division. At a single moment, researchers observed most of embryo’s cells divide in same direction, i.e. one daughter cell form inside the embryo and other one outside. That is the point from where the cell’s lineage is set. The inside cell would develop the embryo, while the outside would become the part of placenta that would support and nurture it in uterus.



Further reading: Petr Strnad, Stefan Gunther, Judith Reichmann, Uros Krzic, Balint Balazs, Gustavo de Medeiros, Nils Norlin, Takashi Hiiragi, Lars Hufnagel, Jan Ellenberg. Inverted light-sheet microscope for imaging mouse pre-implantation developmentNature Methods, 2015; DOI:10.1038/nmeth.3690
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