Fruit Fly Development: Cell by Cell [Nature Video]

Drosophila melanogaster - fruit fly

Drosophila melanogaster

Wow. Two papers published in Nature Methods have outlined a new technique which allows researchers to track development of embryos (in this case Drosophila melanogaster), in real time. By taking simulataneous multi-view microscopic images of the developing embryo, individual cells can be tracked in real time. The methods are described in more detail at Nature News here.

Have a look at the amazing results below, as a fruitfly embryo develops into a larva, ready to hatch. The two views are the dorsal (upper side) and ventral (lower side) view of the same embryo. See if you can pick a cell and watch its path of development.

Think about how this links to IB Biology topics of cell division, cell specialisation and embryonic development. How does a stem cell know what type of cell to become? If you look closely, there’s a scale bar in the bottom-right. Take a snapshot and calculate the actual length of the embryo.

For more reasons to love fruit flies, check out my mini-review of Fly: An Experimental Life by Martin Brookes.

Image source: Drosophila melanogaster, from Wikipedia. 

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About Stephen

Director of Learning & MYP Coordinator at Canadian Academy, Kobe, Japan. Formerly MYP HS Science & IBDP Bio teacher and missing it terribly. Twitterist (@sjtylr), dad and bloggerer.

Posted on June 7, 2012, in 02 Cells, 04 Genetics, IBDP Biology, Microscopes and Magnification, Mitosis & The Cell Cycle, Stem Cells, YouTube. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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