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Speedy computation enables scientists to reconstruct an animal's development cell by cell
Date:7/20/2014

Recent advances in imaging technology are transforming how scientists see the cellular universe, showing the form and movement of once grainy and blurred structures in stunning detail. But extracting the torrent of information contained in those images often surpasses the limits of existing computational and data analysis techniques, leaving scientists less than satisfied.

Now, researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Research Campus have developed a way around that problem. They have created a new computational method to rapidly track the three-dimensional movements of cells in such data-rich images. Using the technique, the Janelia scientists can essentially automate much of the time-consuming process of reconstructing an animal's developmental building plan cell by cell.

Philipp Keller, a group leader at Janelia, led the team that developed the computational framework. He and his colleagues, including Janelia postdoc Fernando Amat, Janelia group leader Kristin Branson and former Janelia lab head Eugene Myers, who is now at the Max Plank Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, have used the method to reconstruct cell lineage during development of the early nervous system in a fruit fly. Their method can be used to trace cell lineages in multiple organisms and efficiently processes data from multiple types of fluorescent microscopes.

The scientists describe their approach in a paper published online on July 20, 2014, in Nature Methods. Their open-source software can be downloaded for free at http://www.janelia.org/lab/keller-lab/.

In 2012, Keller developed the simultaneous multi-view (SiMView) light sheet microscope, which captures three-dimensional images with unprecedented speed and precision over periods of hours or days. The microscope's images can reveal the divisions and intricate rearrangements of indi
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Contact: Jim Keeley
keeleyj@hhmi.org
301-215-8858
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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