About this Research Topic
During the past few years, mammalian development has been extended in vitro beyond the pre-implantation and post-implantation period. The exploitation of three dimensional (3D) culture systems has allowed to recapitulate gastrulation and, with the creation of organoids that summarize the process of organogenesis, to mimic the cellular organization and function of specific tissues and organs.
The most recent advancements in computing science coupled with molecular technologies allowed a tremendous leap forward in our capacity to characterize the molecular networks of a large number of cell types. In addition, the evolution of imaging instruments and tools is radically changing the way we observe molecules and organelles inside the cell, how we resolve single-cell spatial relationships in tissues and organs and even how we image whole organisms.
These advancements have prompted developmental and molecular biologists, geneticists and bioinformatics among others, to promote in 2016 a collaborative community with the aim of building “a collection of maps that will describe and define the cellular basis of health and disease” under the Human atlas Project.
In recent years, huge amounts of data have streamed in from -omics analyses of specific tissues and single cells, highlighting unexpected differences even among single cells of homogeneous populations.
To understand the dynamics and mechanisms of development and differentiation, a major objective now is to bring the whole of this information back to its tissue localisation in the 3D context of embryos and organs. This challenge is nowadays addressed using well established or novel visualization technologies, such as nano-confocal microscopy combined with tissue clearing, optical projection tomography, microscopic magnetic resonance imaging, micro- and nano-computed tomography, synchrotron x-ray imaging, imaging mass spectrometry or olographic microscopy.
This issue aims to give state-of-the-art knowledge on the spatial 3D organisation of the mammalian embryos, organs and organoids. Here, we will collect Original Research, Reviews, Perspectives or Methods on topics that include, but are not limited to:
1. imaging cells and their molecular components in pre- and post-implantation embryos obtained either by in vivo or in vitro fertilization or by using pluripotent stem cells.
2. The organization of organs or organoids during morphogenesis or in the adult in either physiological or pathological conditions.
Keywords: Pre-Implantation Embryos, Post-Implantation Embryos, Organogenesis, Spatial Distribution, 3D Modeling, High-Resolution Imaging
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