US researchers have reported the first detailed molecular characterisation of how every cell changes during animal embryonic development.
Using the latest technology in the emergent field of single cell biology, the team from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Washington profiled more than 80,000 cells in the embryo of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.
In this visualisation of the dataset, each dot represents a single cell, its colour represents the age of the embryo it came from (orange=early, green=mid, blue/red=late), and the dots are arranged so that cells with similar transcriptomes are near each other.
Seen this way, the researchers observe, the data form various thin “trajectories” that correspond to tissues and individual cell types.
The findings are published in the journal Science.
Curated content from the editorial staff at Cosmos Magazine.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.