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Researchers are now able to follow the growth of an animal embryo from conception thanks to new animation techniques and reconstruction elements. The project, which began in 2012, allows scientists to reconstruct an embryo's structure cell-by-cell and follow as the recreation grows and develops. They can track each cell individually.
Design & Trend News reports that the research team's main goal is to understand the formation of the nervous system in their latest efforts to study embryo development.
"We want to reconstruct the elemental building plan of animals, tracking each cell from very early development until late stages," stated Philipp Keller of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Research Campus in a statement. He explains that this is done to better understand everything that occurs within cell movement and cell division while growth is underway.
According to The Huffington Post, individual cells are photographed using a powerful microscope, and then the movements of each cell are tracked individually with a computer program. Researchers explain that this effort is needed in gathering the "developmental history" of each cell in the nervous system. The information gathered can then be linked to what the cell's final function is, and help scientists understand the links between animals in the distant future.