Scientists are hard at work to understand the complex processes that enable a single fertilised egg to grow into a whole animal or human. How do we grow and what happens when things go wrong? Blood vessels (here pictured in green) grow around the developing spinal cord in a two day-old zebrafish embryo. The spinal cord (the thick blue line running from left to right) begins as a neural tube surrounded by developing nerves (visualised in red). To create this image, researchers used genetically engineered zebrafish whose blood vessel cells make a fluorescent green protein, originally discovered in jellyfish. When viewed under a microscope that produces ultraviolet (UV) light, the blood vessels glow green. The neural tube and nerve cells (or neurons) have been stained with dyes that also glow under UV light, revealing the threads of this delicate biological network.
Written by Kat Arney
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.