Image of the ~50,000 cell nuclei of a 22-hour-old zebrafish embryo. The fluorescently labeled cell nuclei are shown in a blue-to-red color code that indicates depth in the image.

Image of the ~50,000 cell nuclei of a 22-hour-old zebrafish embryo. The fluorescently labeled cell nuclei are shown in a blue-to-red color code that indicates depth in the image.

A new visualization technique developed by researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute used a thin sheet of laser light that beams, stepwise, into different planes of a specimen to create intricate and detailed snapshots of cells. In these pictures featured above and below you can see how zebrafish and fruit fly embryos were imaged using this novel technique.

By following the color-coded cells of a Drosophila embryo (top) over time, each cell’s lineage becomes trackable (bottom) with simultaneous multi-view light sheet microscopy.

By following the color-coded cells of a Drosophila embryo (top) over time, each cell’s lineage becomes trackable (bottom) with simultaneous multi-view light sheet microscopy.

Image of the ~6,000 cell nuclei of a 3-hour-old fruit fly embryo. The fluorescently labeled cell nuclei are shown in a blue-to-red color code that indicates depth in the image.

Image of the ~6,000 cell nuclei of a 3-hour-old fruit fly embryo. The fluorescently labeled cell nuclei are shown in a blue-to-red color code that indicates depth in the image.

Here’s how it all works:

“The laser light causes the cells in the illuminated plane to fluoresce while a set of two or four cameras gather snapshots of every cell in the plane from several different angles. By taking pictures as the embryo rotates through the beam, Keller collects a set of planar views which are assembled into a dynamic three-dimensional depiction of the embryo at any given time during its 21 or more hours of development.”

A SiMView microscope uses lasers to illuminate specimens while two cameras to the left and to the right of the central imaging chamber capture shots of the specimen’s cells from different angles.

A SiMView microscope uses lasers to illuminate specimens while two cameras to the left and to the right of the central imaging chamber capture shots of the specimen’s cells from different angles.

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