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Development. 2009 Jun;136(12):1963-75. doi: 10.1242/dev.022426.

Selective plane illumination microscopy techniques in developmental biology.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, and Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA.


Selective plane illumination microscopy (SPIM) and other fluorescence microscopy techniques in which a focused sheet of light serves to illuminate the sample have become increasingly popular in developmental studies. Fluorescence light-sheet microscopy bridges the gap in image quality between fluorescence stereomicroscopy and high-resolution imaging of fixed tissue sections. In addition, high depth penetration, low bleaching and high acquisition speeds make light-sheet microscopy ideally suited for extended time-lapse experiments in live embryos. This review compares the benefits and challenges of light-sheet microscopy with established fluorescence microscopy techniques such as confocal microscopy and discusses the different implementations and applications of this easily adaptable technology.

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