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Mouse embryonic posterior neuropore, confocal image.

Galea, Gabriel.
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Credit: Mouse embryonic posterior neuropore, confocal image. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

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Mouse posterior neuropore, confocal image. This structure is the embryonic precursor of the spinal cord and defects in its formation lead to severe neurodevelopmental disorders such as spina bifida. This image illustrates the entire posterior neuropore with different cellular features labelled in different colours. In this region there are three main embryonic tissue types: the neural tube ending in the posterior neuropore (pointing up), the surface ectoderm overlying the surface, and the mesoderm between the other two tissues. Using a "digital dissection" technique these three layers have been highlighted in blue in each of the three neuropores, from left to right.

Studying this structure poses many challenges due to its complex 3D shape, relatively large size in mammals (and dynamic nature in living embryos. This sort of analysis is helpful in dissecting differences in cellular behaviours and responses between these three critical tissue types, and the mapping of lineage-specific functions which may lead to congenital defects when disrupted.



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