When piling into a crowded station, timing is everything. Those first through get seats, while latecomers are left standing by the doors. The order in which cells move has a similar effect during tissue development. Using 4D imaging, researchers studied the dynamics of cells in the developing inner ear of zebrafish. In the ear, cells called neuroblasts develop into different cell types. Part of this process of development involves them leaving their home – a structure called the epithelium – and embarking on a journey through the developing inner ear (magenta). Researchers tracked individual neuroblasts (green) moving through the inner ear over two hours (left to right). They found that the place and order in which neuroblasts left the epithelium gave an early indication of where they finally ended up. More helpful than watching commuters pack onto a train, this approach could uncover further details about inner ear development.
Written by Lux Fatimathas
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