Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Spying on Development
09 January 2012

Spying on Development

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

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