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"The SF approach: an awareness that things could have been different, that this is one of many possible worlds, that if you came to this world from some other planet, this would be a science fiction world."
- Neal Stephenson

Embryo Visualization  
  Special display technique lets researchers see cell development in three dimensions.  

Standard optical microscopy has severe limits in studying the growth of living organisms. Live cells don't have enough contrast for easy study and their internal structures are indistinct. The use of dyes can bring these structures out, but typically kill the subject cell.

The study of a developing entity like an embryo is even more difficult; how can you follow the growth of a three-dimensional structure?

The elephantine embryo loomed before him above the holostage, its triangular head folder over with two round bulging eyes. "This is the first month, a critical stage for Eyeless," Onyx explained. "As you can see, the eyes are normal with this allele."

She stepped onto the holostage. The "skin" of the embryonic form puckered as her arms entered, and she stepped inside. Her hand rested lightly beneath the pulsating bulge of the heart tube, which had yet to develop separate chambers. She reached up into the head between the eyeballs, cupping them in her hands. "You can see the lens and cornea tissues are shaping up. Come on in," she urged.

From Daughter of Elysium, by Joan Slonczewski.
Published by Avon in 1994
Additional resources -

From Visualizing the Embryo.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Daughter of Elysium
  More Ideas and Technology by Joan Slonczewski
  Tech news articles related to Daughter of Elysium
  Tech news articles related to works by Joan Slonczewski

Embryo Visualization-related news articles:
  - Digital Zebrafish Embryo 3D Development

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