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The Value Of 3d Recreations Of The Sea U…rchin embryo

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How do sea urchin embryos develop while defending against so many environmental stressors? To find out, PhD student Lauren Shipp of the University of California, San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography is using a confocal microscope to generate a 3-D recreation of embryos.

"Sea urchin embryos develop out in the open ocean where they are exposed to a whole variety of chemicals, some of which are naturally occurring and some of which are human generated. And so using this model system to study embryonic development, there is an evolved suite of protective proteins that occur in nature as a result of millions of years of these embryos developing in the face of chemicals. And now with our industrialized society, we are pouring more and more chemicals into the environment that these embryos aren’t used to encountering and so these evolved protective capacities are potentially being overwhelmed. And so this is a good system to study the interaction of those chemicals with the developmental processes of the embryo."

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