Spotlight: Zebrafish embryos to make this season jolly

Zebrafish embryos at a very early stage of development, imaged here by EMBL Barcelona predoctoral fellow Jia Le Lim

Several zebrafish embryos in different colours during gastrulation
Zebrafish embryos. Credit: Jia Le Lim/EMBL, Tobias Hub/University of Heidelberg

Who would have thought that zebrafish embryos could look like festive ornaments?

Pictured here are zebrafish embryos during gastrulation – an early stage of embryonic development. In this stage, a single layer of cells gives rise to three separate germ layers, which later in development become specific tissues and organs. The various colours were added by Jia Le Lim, predoctoral fellow in EMBL Barcelona’s Trivedi group, who studies the effect of temperature on vertebrate embryo development.

To obtain this image, Lim stained mRNA transcripts responsible for ensuring the relative proportions of the three germ layers using a multiplexed, quantitative method  called in-situ hybridisation chain reaction. In addition to investigating how developmental rates scale with temperature, she is interested in figuring out why development fails above and below an organism’s optimal temperature range. As the image shows, embryonic development is highly variable, especially under different temperature conditions.

Tags: barcelona, trivedi, zebrafish


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