Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Revealing Connections
20 July 2012

Revealing Connections

Multispectral imaging takes information not visible to the naked eye and gives it a ‘false colour’. Features that were invisible become obvious. First used to analyse distant nebula, here it has been adapted to track cells in a chick embryo in 3D and in real time. When a fertilised egg develops to become a fully formed chick there is a strictly programmed pattern of movement, or migration, of cells to different areas of the transforming body. Pictured is a snap-shot of migrating cells. The control centre (nucleus) inside each is false-coloured yellow and the outside surfaces of different cells have been false-coloured red or blue. Using this technology, the finger-like extensions cells use to connect with their neighbours are visible for the first time in a live embryo. Tracking these microspikes helps researchers understand how the chemical messages that dictate the pattern of migration, are shared between cells.

Written by Julie Webb

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