A web-based interactive developmental table for the ascidian Ciona intestinalis, including 3D real-image embryo reconstructions: I. From fertilized egg to hatching larva



The ascidian chordate Ciona intestinalis is an established model organism frequently exploited to examine cellular development and a rapidly emerging model organism with a strong potential for developmental systems biology studies. However, there is no standardized developmental table for this organism. In this study, we made the standard web-based image resource called FABA: Four-dimensional Ascidian Body Atlas including ascidian's three-dimensional (3D) and cross-sectional images through the developmental time course. These images were reconstructed from more than 3,000 high-resolution real images collected by confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) at newly defined 26 distinct developmental stages (stages 1–26) from fertilized egg to hatching larva, which were grouped into six periods named the zygote, cleavage, gastrula, neurula, tailbud, and larva periods. Our data set will be helpful in standardizing developmental stages for morphology comparison as well as for providing the guideline for several functional studies of a body plan in chordate. Developmental Dynamics 236:1790–1805, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.