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Developmental imaging: Insights into the avian embryo



The study of embryonic events using different animal model systems is crucial for gaining insights into human development and birth defects. Biological imaging plays a major role in this effort by providing a spatiotemporal framework to link complex cell movements with molecular data. However, depending on the age of the embryo and the location of a morphogenetic event, visualization often requires the design of novel culture and imaging techniques. One of the primary model systems for biological imaging is the avian embryo, due to its accessibility to manipulation, relatively two-dimensional morphogenesis early on, and viability when grown in culture. Significant work in avian embryo culture and cell labeling, together with advances in imaging technology, now make it possible to monitor many developmental events within the period from egg laying to hatching. Here, we present the latest in avian developmental imaging, focusing on cell labeling, embryo culture, and imaging technologies. Birth Defects Research (Part C) 72:260–266, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.