In mouse developmental studies it is frequently desirable to isolate embryos of a specific age. However, the traditional staging of embryonic development based on postcoital dates often erroneously predicts the embryonic age, resulting in unwarranted sacrifice of the pregnant mother. Here we report a noninvasive way of staging embryonic development in utero. A clinical 14 MHz ultrasound system was employed to assess the morphology and size of developing embryos from embryonic day 7.5 to 18.5. We demonstrate that the developmental age of the mouse embryos can be accurately determined based on the sonographic morphology and size of the embryos. This noninvasive ultrasound application requires no anesthesia of the mice and the entire process of staging can be completed within 5-10 min. Empirically, this approach is applicable to mice of various genetic backgrounds and significantly enhances the efficiency of studying murine embryogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology