Biophysics

Weevils: Now in 4D

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Science  11 Apr 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6180, pp. 129
DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6180.129-b
CREDIT: T. DOS SANTOS ROLO ET AL., PNAS (4 MARCH 2014) © 2014 NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

Methods are ever improving for the study of anatomic structures and their associated dynamics as they occur in real time and 3D space. dos Santos Rolo et al. developed in vivo x-ray cinetomography for 4D analysis, which allows the visualization of optically opaque tissue in small living organisms. The method combines ultrafast x-ray computed microtomography and motion analysis procedures to examine structures in the micrometer range and with temporal resolution of a few tens of milliseconds. The method was applied to the exoskeletal hip joints of the wheat weevil Sitophilus granarius to reconstruct 4D kinematics. Weevil hip joints are fast-moving and display what is termed a screw-and-nut system. The imaging method was able to track the movement of the hip joint and elucidate its structural displacement from the main body by following the geometrical center of the hip and by separating angular velocities. The kinematics of the wheat weevil reveals features of its mobility and can be compared to that of different weevil species or other arthropods. The method may also be applied more widely for morphological dynamics in animals and biomaterials.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 111, 10.1073/pnas.1308650111 (2014).

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