Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Tissues taking shape as an embryonic crustacean develops

02 August 2018

Staying on Track

Keeping track of one person in a crowd can be tricky; keeping track of a hundred near impossible. So imagine tracking thousands of cells darting off in all directions as an organism develops. That's the challenge faced when studying tissue morphogenesis – the process by which tissues take shape. Now researchers present a way to track large numbers of cells during development in the animal model Parhyale hawaiensis, a tropical crustacean. Using multi-view light sheet microscopy the team imaged P. hawaiensis embryos over several days (pictured). Focusing on limb development, they used tracking software to follow each of the cells that go on to form the crustaceans’ limbs. By reconstructing these cell movements and applying computer analysis of their behaviour, they correctly predicted the signalling molecules that direct limb morphogenesis in P. hawaiensis. This approach opens up new avenues of investigation into how tissues form.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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