Friday, October 10, 2008

Science video of the day

The most powerful and beautiful thing I have seen in science happened during my honors project. I had created transgenic zebrafish embryos expressing either GFP or a mutant DNA-methyltransferase fused to GFP (thank you nobel laureates). I then placed the embryos in a groove of agar and followed their development under the GFP scope taking pictures at regular intervals for about 36h. I guess we didn't have time lapse in those days. The great thing about zebrafish is that development is really fast, and the embryo is clear so you can see right through it. At 48h you pretty much have a fully-formed fish. I still remember vividly seeing the cell movements, the formation of the three germ layers, but most impressive I remember seing the heart starting to beat. I fell in love with development. This paper in science brings you this remarkable process in a convenient 1min video. It was done thanks to advances in imaging technology by fully digitizing images from scammed light sheet microscopy and tracking every nucleus of the embryo...