Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Gutsy Nerves

Lab-grown tissue mimicking early human embryo nervous system development

13 July 2021

Gutsy Nerves

Piecing together the intricacies of human development needs more than studying cells in a dish. It needs gastruloids. These complex tissues grown in the lab are made from human embryonic stem cells. They’re able to mimic human development in the womb by maturing into a variety of tissue types. Researchers now use a type of gastruloid called the elongating multi-lineage organised (EMLO) gastruloid to study the development of the central and peripheral nervous system. They use fluorescence microscopy and RNA analysis to investigate its development over 40 days. The EMLO gastruloid (pictured) allowed them to track the simultaneous development of early tissues that comprise the heart, gut, spine, muscles and nervous system. Notably, they saw how the peripheral nervous system developed closely alongside the gut, with early spinal cord tissue (red) growing into early gut tissue (green). This model provides an in-depth way to probe tissue interactions during human development.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

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.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.