Edit

Skin of the zebra

What look like dunes in the desert are actually muscles underneath the epidermis of a zebrafish embryo. The epidermis is patterned by ridges forming its scales.

The image was taken with a scanning electron microscope. These microscopes produce images by scanning the surface of a sample with a focused beam of electrons. The electrons interact with the atoms in the sample, creating signals that can be interpreted as information about the surface structure and the composition of the sample.

Scanning electron microscopes provide a large depth of field: the distance between the nearest and farthest objects that are in acceptably sharp focus in an image. This feature creates a three-dimensional image of the sample, which is useful for studying – and understanding – the surface structure. In this case, the surface features, including the scales, of the tiny zebrafish have been studied. 

The zebrafish is not only a popular aquarium fish but is also used as a model organism in scientific research. Its genome has been fully sequenced, and its easily observable and testable developmental behaviours are well understood. 

Credit: Nicole Schieber/EMBL

If you have a stunning picture of your science, your lab or your site, you can submit it here.

Tags: electron microscope, epidermis, Picture of the Week, zebra fish

More from this category

Picture of the week

This image is a composite of lateral pentascolopidial organs, a wing imaginal disc pouch, and an epithelial wound in a Drosophila larva. The organs are arranged here like eyelashes. Cells surrounding an epidermal wound appear as the iris and pupil of this artistic eye.

By  Mathias Jäger

Different parts of a fruit fly arranged into an artificial green eye.

EMBLetc.

Read the latest Issues of our magazine - EMBLetc.

Looking for past print editions of EMBLetc.? Browse our archive, going back 20 years.

EMBLetc. archive
Edit