Scientists have created a computer program to track every cell in a developing embryo


The growth of an embryo from a single cell is an incredible process. The only problem is that it's almost impossible to observe, even using a high resolution microscope. 

To solve this problem, scientists Fernando Amat, Philipp Keller and their colleagues at Janelia Farm, a Virginia research campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the US, have developed software that tracks every individual cell in a developing embryo.

The team ran data collected with a powerful, high-speed microscope through a computer program to map the fate of cells. For a fruit fly, 100,000 cells need to be tracked for thousands of points in time over a single day. 

Using this program scientists can fast-forward and rewind the development of an embryo and see its growth in detail. 

So far, this computer software has been used on fruit flies, zebra fish and mice.