How do we grow from a single fertilized egg to an adult person with trillions of cells? Of course, our cells divide!
And it's not an easy task. Each time a cell divides, it has to duplicate our 23 pairs of chromosomes and make sure each "daughter" cell contains a complete set of genes.
Errors can be life-threatening for the cell. The out-of-control cell division, which is the hallmark of cancer, is also a serious matter. No wonder that biologists have been studying cell division for a long time.
Over the years, scientists have come together to create a coherent story of how the process unfolds. And now, the nonprofit Allen Institute in Seattle has used this knowledge to create a visualization of human cell division that is suitable for both professional scientists and curious amateurs. (The above computer-aided visualization shows the anaphasic stage of cell division.)
The model of the Institute follows the fate of 1
The images that arise surrender made up of 75 representative skin cells, says Susanne Rafelski, who works at the Allen Institute for Cell Science.
Each component was labeled with a fluorescent tag to track its fate across the five phases of the cell cycle, beginning with cell growth. then the DNA synthesis, another growth phase, and two phases in which the cell actually divides and produces two daughter cells.
The parts are color-coded Keep an eye on your preferred cell component as the data merges into a compound cell.
"We are interested in understanding the cell as a whole," says Rafelski. "So the big deal is that we want to put the cell back together with all the mechanistic information we've gathered over the years."
These types of visualizations are becoming increasingly popular with biologists, teachers, and researchers, who are simply curious. The Allen Institute has studied the technology that applies to the brain. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (which is one of the financial supporters of NPR) has also created visualizations of the entire brain of a fruit fly, developed mouse embryos and a variety of other images that are aimed at science teachers.
Another Pioneering Achievement is Visible Man Launched in 1994 and updated over the years, the project shows a man and a woman initially created from CT and MRI scans and ultimately based on images made from thin sections of the donated Body come. A private company has created a computer program that enables anatomy enthusiasts to explore the visible.
You can contact [NPR science correspondent Richard Harris] at [email protected]