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Laser Scanning Confocal Microscopy
Confocal Microscopy Image Gallery

Fluorescent Protein Expression in Zebrafish Embryos

Spectral variants of the green fluorescent protein (GFP) are quite useful for double or triple labeling experiments or when targeting fluorescence expression with a particular laser system. The confocal image presented below is a three-dimensional volume render made from 5-micrometer serial optical sections of a zebrafish embryo labeled with a red fluorescent protein (dsRED). The image was provided by Yasuhiro Kamei and Shunsuke Yuba of the Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology at Osaka University, in Japan.

Fluorescent Protein Expression in Zebrafish Embryos

The zebrafish is a small, hardy fish that appears in a wide array of genetic variations. The standard “wildtype” is somewhat translucent and features dark stripes that run lengthwise down its body. Though popular among home aquarium enthusiasts, zebrafish are perhaps most import as a model for vertebrate development, genetics, and disease research. Zebrafish embryos, which develop outside of the mother’s body, are especially useful for scientific purposes and have been utilized in laboratories worldwide since the 1970s. Simple to maintain, manipulate, and observe, the body of knowledge that has been obtained regarding zebrafish and their embryos is immense.

The development of confocal microscopy and fluorescent probes has been integral in the accumulation of crucial zebrafish embryo data. The confocal technique, for instance, has enabled the capture of high-resolution images of zebrafish specimens despite their relative thickness, and fluorescent markers have facilitated the monitoring of the behavior of individual cells during division and throughout the development process. These microscopy tools have also been extremely valuable in assisting in the understanding of various gene mutations. Such information is invaluable in regards to its relation to similar problems and developments that occur in humans and other vertebrates.