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

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10 February 2023

Firing Up

As if guided by fire, a procession of cells threads its way slowly up the centre of the cavernous embryo. A high-powered microscope highlights early sensory organ cells (green), as they move into place, having spilt away from a pool of anterior placode cells, a precious form of early stem cell with the potential to become everything from nerve to bone. Once migrated into place, these will populate the tissues of this early zebrafish, just as similar cells do in human embryos. This time-lapse video (captured over eight hours) also shows flame-like melanocytes settling below the developing skin. Zebrafish make excellent model organisms – sharing many of our genes and providing developmental biologists with a vital window onto the delicate early stages of life.

Written by John Ankers

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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.

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