This 40-second time-lapse video of a sensory nervous system developing and growing neurons has won the 2018 Nikon Small World in Motion contest.
The video was created by Dr. Elizabeth Haynes and Jiaye “Henry” of the University of Wisconsin – Madison. It shows a zebrafish embryo growing its elaborate nervous system over a period of 16 hours.
A “gentle light sheet” technology was used to capture the entire embryo in 3D at a high temporal resolution. The zebrafish embryo was allowed to grow naturally in water inside a custom-built microscope.
“This is a much more challenging approach as the specimen could easily move out of the field of view,” Nikon says. “The conventional technique of mounting the zebrafish in a block of gel restricts the growth of the embryo, which can impact the development of the neurons and result in a less accurate study. ”
“I hope people see this video and understand how much we share with other organisms in terms of our development,” Haynes says. “A neuron is a neuron, and it’s really amazing how most of the time development goes right when so much could go wrong. There is so much art occurring within science and nature, and it’s really special to watch.”