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LONDON (Reuters) - A new high-powered microscope has allowed scientists to watch a zebrafish develop from a single cell into an embryo with a beating heart, the first time this has been possible in vertebrates, researchers said on Thursday.
They created a three-dimensional digital reconstruction of the tiny, developing fish, which may provide insights into how human organs form and lead to a better understanding of the genetic underpinnings of some diseases, they said.
"This is like being able to watch an animal getting a life," said Joachim Wittbrodt, who led the study published in the journal Science while at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany.
"You have a clump of cells that are transforming into an embryo with a beating heart while you are watching."