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Keywords:

  • midbrain–hindbrain boundary;
  • isthmic organizer;
  • otx2;
  • lineage restriction;
  • visualization;
  • TracePilot;
  • tracking

Abstract

Detailed reconstruction of the spatiotemporal history of embryonic cells is key to understanding tissue formation processes but is often complicated by the large number of cells involved, particularly so in vertebrates. Through a combination of high-resolution time-lapse lineage tracing and antibody staining, we have analyzed the movement of mesencephalic and metencephalic cell populations in the early zebrafish embryo. To facilitate the analysis of our cell tracking data, we have created TracePilot, a software tool that allows interactive manipulation and visualization of tracking data. We demonstrate its utility by showing novel visualizations of cell movement in the developing zebrafish brain. TracePilot (http://www.mpi-cbg.de/tracepilot) is Java-based, available free of charge, and has a program structure that allows the incorporation of additional analysis tools. Developmental Dynamics 235:928–933, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.