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Dev Biol. 1999 Dec 15;216(2):457-68.

A three-dimensional model of the mouse at embryonic day 9.

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Anatomy Section, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.


This paper describes a digital, three-dimensional model of the mouse embryo at E9. The model was made by reconstruction from images of serial histological sections digitally warped to remove distortions and has a resolution of approximately 9 microns. The model can be digitally resectioned in any plane to provide images which resemble conventional histological sections. The main tissues have been identified and delineated by digital painting so that the anatomical components can be visualized and manipulated in 3-D surface- and volume-rendered views. This provides a three-dimensional definition of anatomy that will provide a useful tool for interpreting and understanding spatial data in mouse embryos. The anatomy of the model is discussed where it provides landmarks for interpretation and navigation or where it is unexpected in light of existing descriptions of the E9 mouse embryo. The complete anatomy is not presented in this paper but will be available on CD-ROM. A detailed description of the technical aspects of the construction of the model is included in an appendix. The model is the first of a series that will form the basis for an atlas/database of mouse development. This reconstruction and its associated anatomy are available in a variety of data formats with some supporting software from

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