New technique reveals inner structure of live embryos in 3D

New technique reveals inner structure of live embryos in 3D thumbnail
WASHINGTON: Scientists have developed a way to produce three-dimensional (3D) images of live embryos, an advance that may help select most viable embryos for successful pregnancies during in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

The cost of a single IVF cycle can be $20,000, making it desirable to succeed in as few attempts as possible, said researchers from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the US.

Advanced knowledge regarding the health of embryos could help physicians select those that are most likely to lead to successful pregnancies, they said.

Called gradient light interference microscopy (GLIM), the new method solves a challenge that other methods have struggled with – imaging thick, multicellular samples.

In many forms of traditional biomedical microscopy, light is shined through very thin slices of tissue to produce an image.

Other methods use chemical or physical markers that allow the operator to find the specific object they are looking for within a thick sample, but those markers can be toxic to living tissue, professor Gabriel Popescu said.

“When looking at thick samples with other methods, your image becomes washed out due to the light bouncing off of all surfaces in the sample,” said graduate student Mikhail Kandel, the co-lead author of the study published in the journal Nature Communications.

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