New microscopy technique offers 3D images of live embryo structures

Engineering

Scientists have developed a new way to produce 3D images of live embryos using an innovative microscopy technique.

An approach called gradient light interference microscopy has been utilised by a University of Illinois team to image thick, multicellular samples - an objective that other methods often struggled to achieve.

“A new microscopy technique has provided an innovative way of producing 3D images of the internal structure of live embryos.“

It can probe deep into thick samples by controlling the path length over which light travels through the specimen, producing images from multiple depths that can then be composited into a single 3D image.

This approach has been shown to be capable of generating 3D images of live embryos in cattle noninvasively and without any harm, offering an unprecedented insight into embryo viability.

Tan Nguyen, co-lead author of the study, said: "This method lets us see the whole picture, like a three-dimensional model of the entire embryo at one time."

It is hoped that this technology could be applied to human fertility research and treatment, as well as a range of different types of tissue research. The team has already had success using this method to look at thick samples of brain tissue in marine life for neuroscience studies.

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