Imaging mammalian development with light-sheet microscopy

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Live and Functional Imaging Technologies Part 1
Kate McDole (1)
1. MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology Cambridge
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Development begins with a single cell of limitless potential giving rise to all of the different cell types, tissues, and organ systems that comprise an adult animal. How cells organize to build tissues and how those tissues are sculpted to form organs however, is largely unknown. As mammalian embryos are highly sensitive to environmental and culture conditions, and in addition are extremely photosensitive, visualizing their development has been notoriously difficult. We have developed an advanced light-sheet microscope to gently and comprehensively image mouse embryo development at single-cell resolution over a course of days. With this system and a suite of computational tools, we can track individual cells and analyse patterns of divisions, as well as build dynamic cell fate maps over the course of two-days of development from gastrulation to early organogenesis. This allows us to describe the morphogenesis of complex three-dimensional structures such as the formation of the early heart, the neural tube, node and notochord, and the formation of the primitive streak.