Under the microscope #8 - beetle embryo

Feb 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: How a molecular Superman protects the genome from damage

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

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Embryo's cell stampede

Feb 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

Jan 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

Cell architecture: Finding common ground

Oct 16, 2014

When it comes to cellular architecture, function follows form. Plant cells contain a dynamic cytoskeleton which is responsible for directing cell growth, development, movement, and division. So over time, changes in the cytoskeleton ...

Scientists identify "naïve-like" human stem cell

Oct 16, 2014

Scientists from our university and Berlin have identified a type of human stem cell that appears to be "naïve-like" – able to develop into any type of cell. The discovery of this cell type could potentially ...

Shaping the way to see the world

Oct 16, 2014

The proliferation of cells, in particular the orientation in which they divide, is key in regulating the shapes of tissues. However, the cellular mechanisms that govern cell proliferation and cell division orientation are ...

User comments : 0