Home Science Volvox embryo inversion 3D video may provide ground-breaking information

Volvox embryo inversion 3D video may provide ground-breaking information


Researchers have recently managed to capture a one-of-its-kind 3D video. The said video shows a living algal embryo turning itself inside out. The embryo is seen forming a mushroom-like shape from a sphere and then again getting back to its original spherical shape.

Researchers believe that the facts put forward by this 3D video will assist in unraveling the mechanical procedures adopted by the embryo of animals at a similar stage. The embryonic stage, according to science, is the most important stage of life.

The said video has been captured by a group of researchers representing the University of Cambridge. The embryos showcased in the video belonged to Volvox, a green alga.

During the study, scientists used fluorescence microscopy for observing the actions of the Volvox embryos and testing a detailed mathematical model of the process called morphogenesis. For those who don’t know: morphogenesis is the term used for the physiological process involving the development and origin of any organism’s form and structure.


The video also allowed researchers to comprehend how the shape of cells affects the method of inversion that sees the embryo turning from a spherical structure into a mushroom-shaped structure and then again coming back to its original spherical shape.

The embryonic activities observed in the video are similar to the activities taking place during gastrulation of animal embryos. Gastrulation is a process during which embryos fold themselves to form a cup-like structure producing the primary layer of germ cells that eventually give birth to all other organs of the body.

The video has made it clear that Volvox embryos go through a pretty similar process. However, in case of Volvox embryos there’s an extra twist. The algal embryos shown in the video turn themselves inside out during this very important stage of life.


The theoretical and experimental methods showcased during this study will be used for comprehending a lot more than just this weird inversion process. Researchers believe that the findings of the study will be helpful in unearthing a series of mysteries about morphogenesis.

Reports revealed that the mathematical model might find use in a range of topological issues, for instance, in a process called neurulation. Neurulation involves enclosure of tissues that eventually take the shape of the spinal cord.

SOURCEUniversity of Cambridge
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