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Wellcome Image of the Month: Zebrafish Embryo

19 Jul, 2013

B0008608 Zebrafish embryo

Make us gasp with your images! We are always on the look out for striking images so if you are a research scientist, clinical photographer, or illustrator and have high quality imagery that relates to biomedical science or contemporary healthcare, we would love to see your work. Our collections span all artistic media and imaging techniques ranging from hand drawn illustrations to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans. What’s more, any images we receive before 30 September 2013 will be considered for the Wellcome Image Awards 2014. Email Sabrina Taner for more information about this.

Our image of the month is this scanning electron micrograph of a 4 day old zebrafish embryo which was acquired by David McCarthy and Annie Cavanagh. The image was captured by David using a FEI Quanta 200F Scanning Electron Microscope. Prior to imaging, the sample was chemically fixed, dehydrated in graduated alcohol, then dried and coated with 5 nm gold particles. The Zebrafish was then physically attached to a stub (specimen holder) by its tail and tilted to 65 degrees to reveal the morphology seen here.

As zebrafish embryos are approximately 1 cm in length, 3 separate images had to be taken along the length of the embryo and then stitched back together digitally. Colour was then added to the black and white image and Annie said she “coloured the image using tones and shading to try and represent the reflections from fish scales.”

The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is a small tropical freshwater fish which originates from Asia. It is commonly used as a model organism to study developmental biology and neurodegeneration in vertebrates. The embryos themselves are transparent and develop outside the female which means that their internal development can be closely observed. They can also be genetically modified and cost relatively little to feed and house.

Annie and David previously worked together at the UCL School of Pharmacy. David is the Senior Experimental Officer at the Electron Microscope Unit which he set up in 1977 and Annie was the Multimedia Unit manager. Together, they have won numerous Wellcome Image Awards.

Image credit: Annie Cavanagh and David McCarthy, Wellcome Images (Zebrafish embryo)

Wellcome Images is one of the world’s richest and most unusual collections, with themes ranging from medical and social history to contemporary healthcare and biomedical science. All our images are available in digital form so please click the link above if you would like to use the picture that features in this post, or to quickly find related ones. Many are free to use non-commercially under the terms of a Creative Commons licence and full details of the specific licence for each image are provided.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 22 Jul, 2013 8:30 am

    Reblogged this on bughobenedict and commented:
    what is that! a fish

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