Cartilage and encroaching bone in the developing mouse skeleton

This shot of the dorsal neck of a developing mouse embryo visually shows the process of skeletal growth found in all bony vertebrates. The widespread blue stain (Alcian blue) reveals the extensive cartilaginous blueprint for the growing skeleton, which extends by the division of chondrocytes (cartilage-producing cells) guided by signalling molecules across the embryo. The…

Water molecule tracking reveals intricate muscle patterns in a tiny heart

The fibres of a mouse heart resemble a neat bird’s nest structure, but their specific orientations and interactions come together to drive blood around the body. The individual muscle strands were visualised using diffusion tensor imaging, which essentially tracks the movement of water molecules through single cells, revealing their position, size and shape. The pattern of…

Section through a mouse vertebra

Section through the centre of a mouse vertebra, image courtesy of Michael Paul Nelson and Samantha Smith
 from the Nikon Small World competition.