Scanning Microscopy


A simple, rapid method for visualizing the internal morphology of amphibian embryos is described. Fixed embryos of Ambystoma mexicanum are surrounded with commercial embedding material and are frozen. Internal structure is revealed by cutting the embryos with a cooled scalpel or razor blade, removing the frozen embedment with an aqueous buffer, and processing the halved embryos for scanning electron microscopy (SEM). This technique allows the internal anatomy of the embryo to be viewed but is much simpler and more rapid than previously described techniques. It should therefore prove useful for understanding and teaching the three-dimensional relationship between tissues in developing embryos. In addition, we believe that this technique could be used, with minor changes, as a rapid method for viewing the internal morphology of a variety of specimens.

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