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Developmental Biology/Embryology
the observation and investigation of the processes that cause an organism to develop and grow

Developing C. elegans embryos expressing RFP-histones and GFP-membrane markers imaged on Nikon’s SMZ25 stereomicroscope. Image courtesy of Julie C. Canman, Ph.D., Columbia University

The observation and investigation of the processes that cause an organism to develop and grow

Developmental biology/embryology includes studies at the genetic, molecular, cellular and tissue levels to understand the mechanisms underlying the spatial and temporal control of gene expression governing processes such as cellular differentiation, morphogenesis, metamorphosis, regeneration, organogenesis and apoptosis. Small, rapidly-generating, genetically-tractable organisms, such as the zebrafish, fruit fly, or nematode are often used as model organisms.  Many of these model organisms are also transparent at various stages of their development and enable the direct visualization of cell differentiation, growth and organogenesis in the living organism.  Nikon provides a variety of imaging tools to aid in the study of single cells and whole organisms.  For example, the role of cytokinesis factors in embryogenesis can be studied by fluorescence time-lapse imaging of dividing embryos using Nikon’s high N.A., high zoom-range stereomicroscopes, SMZ25 and SMZ18.  Nikon’s suite of confocal microscopes including the LiveScan Sweptfield confocal and resonant point scanning confocal A1R+ enable high speed, 4D imaging (volume over time) of developing embryos with optical sectioning.  For imaging thick tissue samples and larger animals, the A1R MP+ multiphoto system provides deep tissue penetration with minimal light scatter.  The AZ100 multizoom upright microscope also provides an excellent imaging solution for macro-imaging.  For monitoring development/embryogenesis with minimal perturbation to the culture environment, Nikon provides the Biostation IM-Q and CT incubator imaging systems which have an automated microscope integrated into an incubator. 

Imaging Challenges

How can I keep my cells alive for long periods of time in live cell imaging?

Light exposure (phototoxicity), temperature and time can affect the longevity of cells. Nikon’s BioStation CT and IM-Q time-lapse imaging incubator systems provide environmentally controlled incubation with an integrated and automated microscope for monitoring cells as they divide and differentiate in optimal culture conditions.

BioStation IM-Q

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