How to grow from a fertilized egg to a fully developed man with trillions of cells? Our cells are divided, of course!
And that's not a feat. Each time a cell divides, it must duplicate our 23 pairs of chromosomes and make sure that each "daughter" cell ends with a full set of genes.
Errors are potentially fatal to the cell. Separation of fugitives, which is a hallmark of cancer, is also a serious business.
It's no wonder then that biologists have been studying cell division as long as they knew about cells. together to understand how the process develops. And now the Allen Non-profit Institute in Seattle has taken advantage of this knowledge to create a visualization of human cell divisions suited to professional scientists and curious lovers. (The computer visualization above shows the anaphase cell fission stage.)
The Institute model follows the fate of 1
Still following your favorite cellular component as data is combined into a combined cell.
"We are interested in understanding the cell as a whole," says Rafael. "So the really big picture is that we want to put the cell back together with all the mechanistic information that we collect over the years."
These types of visualizations are increasingly popular tools for biologists, teachers and just curious. The Alan Institute has been exploring the technology as it is applied to the brain. Howard Hughes Medical Institute (who is among the financial advocates of the NDP) has also created visualizations of the entire fly fly brain by developing mouse embryos and numerous other images aimed at science teachers.
A project launched in 1994 and updated over the years to show a man and woman originally built by CT and MRI scanning and ultimately based on images taken from thin slices of the donated bodies. A private company has set up a computer program to enable anatomy enthusiasts to explore visible people.
You can contact NPR Scientific Correspondent Richard Harris on firstname.lastname@example.org.