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A clearer picture of the dynamics of gut development

23 March 2021


Imagine staring at a map. Now imagine stepping into that map. You’d get a much better understanding of your bearings in 3D. That’s the same reason researchers decided to investigate gut development in 3D using micro-computed tomography (microCT), building on what’s already known from 2D histology images. The team performed microCT of rat embryos and compared the 3D images of the gut taken on each day of the last week of their development in the womb (pictured). They found that the shape of the first section of the small intestine, the duodenum (yellow) and the colon (grey, second and fourth rows) stayed roughly the same while the shape and positioning of the intestinal loops (first and third rows) varied considerably. This helps build a clearer picture of the dynamics of gut development so we can better understand what goes wrong in congenital gut disorders.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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