Under the microscope #8 - beetle embryo

February 14, 2012

Under the Microscope is a collection of videos that show glimpses of the natural and man-made world in stunning close-up.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Matt Benton: “For my PhD I am studying the embryonic development of the beetle, Tribolium castaneum. During development in this beetle, a large number must move together at a certain location of the egg to form the embryo proper. At the same time, other cells move to overlap the forming embryo, to protect it and help it grow. Currently, we only have a basic understanding of how these different groups of cells move. In my work I am trying to extend this understanding, and to learn how the movements of different groups of cells are controlled and coordinated. Together with the group of Michalis Averof, I am developing methods to allow the movements of these cells to be seen in live . The beetle shown in this video has been genetically modified so that the nucleus of each cell is labelled with a fluorescent protein. By using a certain , I am able to record the movements of these cells in 3D, as the embryo develops.

Many thanks to Michalis Averof for creating the nuclear-green fluorescent protein transgenic line shown in the movie, and to my PhD supervisor, Michael Akam, for supporting my work.”

The width of this egg is 300 micrometres, and the length is 600 micrometres (1 metre is 1,000,000 micrometres). So the width of this egg is roughly 3 times the width of a human hair.

The time span of the movie is about 5.5 hours.

Explore further: Egg-like cells obtained in pig fetal skin

More information: www.zoo.cam.ac.uk/zoostaff/akam/benton.html

Related Stories

British panel to debate hybrid embryo fate

January 10, 2007

The position of Britain as a stem cell research leader could be at risk as scientists await action that may override a proposed ban on hybrid embryos.

Embryo's cell stampede

February 23, 2011

As an embryo grows towards its final adult form, the initial fertilized egg cell must divide many times over into cells that will become specialized and form the many different tissues and organs of the body.

Under the microscope: Mouse embryo

January 27, 2012

Under the Microscope is a collection of videos that show glimpses of the natural and man-made world in stunning close-up. They will be released every Monday and Thursday for the next couple of months and you can see them ...

Recommended for you

A look at living cells down to individual molecules

August 3, 2015

EPFL scientists have been able to produce footage of the evolution of living cells at a nanoscale resolution by combining atomic force microscopy and an a super resolution optical imaging system that follows molecules that ...

New lizard named after Sir David Attenborough

August 3, 2015

A research team led by Dr Martin Whiting from the Department of Biological Sciences recently discovered a beautifully coloured new species of flat lizard, which they have named Platysaurus attenboroughi, after Sir David Attenborough.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.