From a single cell to a whole organism, how do animals grow into such diverse and complex creatures from their embryonic beginnings? What if we could follow and map a human’s development from a single cell to the estimated 100 trillion cells that make us who we are as adults? How do embryos grow?

Above, The New York TimesScienceTake shows us a glimpse of software “that can trace the life and movements of every single cell.” Beautifully rendered in rainbow colors, the visualizations are the work of researchers at HHMI‘s Janelia Farm research campus. Thus far, they’ve modeled the development of fruit flies, zebra fish and mice, but with more research, this kind of cell tracking might lead to a better understanding of the human nervous system and inherited genetic disorders.

In the archives: more cells and more about the human body.

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