• Chicken embryo vascular system

    Date:28 August 2012 Tags:, , ,

    Vincent Pasque, University of Cambridge

    This fluorescence micrograph shows the vascular system of a developing chicken embryo (Gallus gallus), two days after fertilisation. Injecting fluorescent dextran revealed the entire vasculature used by the embryo to feed itself from the rich underlying yolk inside the egg. The image shows the central chicken embryo surrounded by veins and arteries. The head of the embryo, including the embryonic eye and brain, can be seen on the upper part of the embryo, just above the embryonic heart. The long lower part of the embryo is the future body of the chicken, from which legs and wings will develop. At this stage of development, the embryo and its surrounding vasculature are a little smaller than a 5p coin.

    What does this image show?
    The image shows the central chicken embryo surrounded by the vitelline vascular system, the veins and arteries supporting the flow of blood between the embryo and the yolk sac. The head of the embryo, including the embryonic eye and brain, can be seen on the upper part of the embryo, just above the embryonic heart. The long lower part of the embryo is the future body of the chicken, from which legs and wings will develop.

    How was this image acquired?
    The image was obtained by opening the egg’s shell and injecting a fluorescent dye into the vascular system (the lower part). Because of the action of the pumping heart, the dye spread to the entire vascular system (vitelline veins and arteries). Images were then recorded using a fluorescence microscope equipped with a camera. The image shows the whole embryo as a result of monitoring total reflected fluorescence.

    The 12th Wellcome Image Awards were announced on 20 June 2012, recognising the creators of the most informative, striking and technically excellent images among recent acquisitions to Wellcome Images, as chosen by a panel of judges.