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October, 2006
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Embryonic Development: Morphological and physiological development of Embryos.

Development and Reproduction of the Laboratory Mouse

JoVE 5159

Successful breeding of the laboratory mouse (Mus musculus) is critical to the establishment and maintenance of a productive animal colony. Additionally, mouse embryos are frequently studied to answer questions about developmental processes. A wide variety of genetic tools now exist for regulating gene expression during mouse embryonic and postnatal development, which can help…

 Biology II

Embryonic Stem Cells

JoVE 10811

Embryonic stem (ES) cells are undifferentiated pluripotent cells, meaning they can produce any cell type in the body. This gives them tremendous potential in science and medicine since they can generate specific cell types for use in research or to replace body cells lost due to damage or disease.

ES cells are present in the inner cell mass of an embryo at the blastocyst stage, which occurs at about 3–5 days after fertilization in humans before the embryo is implanted in the uterus. Human ES cells are usually derived from donated embryos left over from the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process. The cells are collected and grown in culture, where they can divide indefinitely—creating ES cell lines. Under certain conditions, ES cells can differentiate—either spontaneously into a variety of cell types, or in a directed fashion to produce desired cell types. Scientists can control which cell types are generated by manipulating the culture conditions—such as changing the surface of the culture dish or adding specific growth factors to the culture medium—as well as by genetically modifying the cells. Through these methods, researchers have been able to generate many specific cell types from ES cells, including blood, nerve, heart, bone, liver, and pancreas cells. Regenerative medicine concerns the creation of living, functio

 Core: Biology

Embryonic Stem Cell Culture and Differentiation

JoVE 5332

Culturing embryonic stem (ES) cells requires conditions that maintain these cells in an undifferentiated state to preserve their capacity for self-renewal and pluripotency. Stem cell biologists are continuously optimizing methods to improve the efficiency of ES cell culture, and are simultaneously trying to direct the differentiation of ES cells into specific cell types that could be used in…

 Developmental Biology

Zebrafish Reproduction and Development

JoVE 5151

The zebrafish (Danio rerio) has become a popular model for studying genetics and developmental biology. The transparency of these animals at early developmental stages permits the direct visualization of tissue morphogenesis at the cellular level. Furthermore, zebrafish are amenable to genetic manipulation, allowing researchers to determine the effect of gene expression on the…

 Biology II

C. elegans Development and Reproduction

JoVE 5110

Ceanorhabditis elegans is a powerful tool to help understand how organisms develop from a single cell into a vast interconnected array of functioning tissues. Early work in C. elegans traced the complete cell lineage and structure at the electron microscopy level, allowing researchers unprecedented insight into the connection between genes, development and disease. …

 Biology I

Development of the Chick

JoVE 5155

The chicken embryo (Gallus gallus domesticus) provides an economical and accessible model for developmental biology research. Chicks develop rapidly and are amenable to genetic and physiological manipulations, allowing researchers to investigate developmental pathways down to the cell and molecular levels.

This video review of chick development begins by describing the…

 Biology II

Seed Structure and Early Development of the Sporophyte

JoVE 11109

Seed structures are composed of a protective seed coat surrounding a plant embryo, and a food store for the developing embryo. The embryo contains the precursor tissues for leaves, stem, and roots. The endosperm and cotyledons—seed leaves—act as the food reserves for the growing embryo.

The embryo contains a double set of chromosomes, one set from each parent. Fertilization of the haploid egg by the haploid sperm gives rise to the zygote, which develops into the embryo.  The endosperm is a feature common to most flowering plants, and it is created during the process of double fertilization. Here, two sperm enter into each ovule. One sperm fertilizes the egg; the other fertilizes the central cell, producing the endosperm. Conifers and other gymnosperms do not undergo double fertilization, and therefore do not have a true endosperm. Seed structure differs between monocots and dicots, two types of flowering plants. Monocots, such as corn, have a single large cotyledon called the scutellum, which directly connects to the embryo vascular tissues. The endosperm acts as the food reserve. During germination, the scutellum absorbs enzymatically-released food materials and transports them to the developing embryo. The monocot embryo is surrounded by two protective sheaths. The first, the coleoptile, covers the young shoot. The secon

 Core: Biology


JoVE 10912

During embryogenesis, cells become progressively committed to different fates through a two-step process: specification followed by determination. Specification is demonstrated by removing a segment of an early embryo, “neutrally” culturing the tissue in vitro—for example, in a petri dish with simple medium—and then observing the derivatives. If the cultured region gives rise to cell types that it would normally generate in the embryo, this means that it is specified. In contrast, determination occurs if a region of the embryo is removed and placed in a “non-neutral” environment—such as in a dish containing complex medium supplemented with a variety of proteins, or even a different area of the embryo itself—and it still generates the expected derivatives. Specification and determination are two sequential steps in the developmental pathway of a cell, which precede the final stage of differentiation, during which mature tissues with unique morphologies and functions are produced. To study specification, researchers must first understand the normal derivatives of different regions of an embryo. To accomplish this, fate maps are often used, which are generated by dyeing or labeling cells early in embryonic development, culturing whole embryos and monitoring where the marked cells end up. For example, such te

 Core: Biology

An Introduction to Developmental Neurobiology

JoVE 5207

Developmental neuroscience is a field that explores how the nervous system is formed, from early embryonic stages through adulthood. Although it is known that neural progenitor cells follow predictable stages of proliferation, differentiation, migration, and maturation, the mechanisms controlling the progression through each stage are incompletely understood. Studying…


Glial Cells

JoVE 10843

Glial cells are one of the two main types of cells in the nervous system. Glia cells comprise astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, microglia, and ependymal cells in the central nervous system, and satellite and Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system. These cells do not communicate via electrical signals like neurons do, but they contribute to virtually every other aspect of nervous system function. In humans, the number of glial cells is roughly equal to the number of neurons in the brain. Glia in the central nervous system (CNS) include astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, microglia, and ependymal cells. Astrocytes are the most abundant type of glial cell and are found in organized, non-overlapping patterns throughout the brain, where they closely associate with neurons and capillaries. Astrocytes play numerous roles in brain function, including regulating blood flow and metabolic processes, synaptic ion and pH homeostasis, and blood-brain barrier maintenance. Another specialized glial cell, the oligodendrocyte, forms the myelin sheath that surrounds neuronal axons in the CNS. Oligodendrocytes extend long cellular processes that wrap around axons multiple times to form this coating. Myelin sheath is required for proper conduction of neuronal signaling and greatly increases the speed at which these messages travel. Microglia—known as the macrop

 Core: Biology
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