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Uploaded on Feb 10, 2012
New research, from the laboratory of Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz of the University of Cambridge, enables scientists to view critical aspects of mammalian embryonic development which was previously unobservable.
Around the fourth day, at which point the developing embryo implants into the mother's womb, its development becomes hidden from view as this is taking place. Yet this is a very important phase of development that will see the extra-embryonic tissues signal to the stem cells where to start making the head and the rear of the body.
Using the mouse embryo as a model, Professor Zernicka-Goetz and her colleagues, with funding from the Wellcome Trust, have developed a method that has allowed them to overcome the barrier of implantation into the womb by culturing and imaging embryos outside the body of the mother for the first 8 days of their development.
Film credit: Lab of Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz at the Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge