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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2011 Oct;21(5):566-72. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2011.09.009. Epub 2011 Sep 30.

Light sheet microscopy for real-time developmental biology.

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Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Pfotenhauerstr. 108, 01307 Dresden, Germany.


Within only a few short years, light sheet microscopy has contributed substantially to the emerging field of real-time developmental biology. Low photo-toxicity and high-speed multiview acquisition have made selective plane illumination microscopy (SPIM) a popular choice for studies of organ morphogenesis and function in zebrafish, Drosophila, and other model organisms. A multitude of different light sheet microscopes have emerged for the noninvasive imaging of specimens ranging from single molecules to cells, tissues, and entire embryos. In particular, developmental biology can benefit from the ability to watch developmental events occur in real time in an entire embryo, thereby advancing our understanding on how cells form tissues and organs. However, it presents a new challenge to our existing data and image processing tools. This review gives an overview of where we stand as light sheet microscopy branches out, explores new areas, and becomes more specialized.

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