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Nat Protoc. 2013 Apr;8(4):721-36. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2013.034. Epub 2013 Mar 14.

Microfluidic trap array for massively parallel imaging of Drosophila embryos.

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School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


Here we describe a protocol for the fabrication and use of a microfluidic device to rapidly orient >700 Drosophila embryos in parallel for end-on imaging. The protocol describes master microfabrication (∼1 d), polydimethylsiloxane molding (few hours), system setup and device operation (few minutes) and imaging (depending on application). Our microfluidics-based approach described here is one of the first to facilitate rapid orientation for end-on imaging, and it is a major breakthrough for quantitative studies on Drosophila embryogenesis. The operating principle of the embryo trap is based on passive hydrodynamics, and it does not require direct manipulation of embryos by the user; biologists following the protocol should be able to repeat these procedures. The compact design and fabrication materials used allow the device to be used with traditional microscopy setups and do not require specialized fixtures. Furthermore, with slight modification, this array can be applied to the handling of other model organisms and oblong objects.

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