IMAGES: Digital Embryo

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Science  25 Feb 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5457, pp. 1359
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5457.1359a

In a mere 56 days, a fertilized human egg morphs from a clump of cells to a walnut-size embryo with ears, fingers, limbs, and organs. To help students and scientists peer into this developmental window, the Multi-Dimensional Human Embryo Project spent 3 years loading preserved embryos from a museum collection into a high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging machine. The result? A remarkable atlas that allows users to leaf through cross sections showing the outlines of organs or view whole embryos from different angles. (Here, an embryo at around 48 days.) This spring the project's leader, Bradley Smith of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, will begin disbursing the raw data so other researchers can create visualizations. Also check the link to Smith's atlas of mouse, chick, and opossum embryos.

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