Watch an Embryo Turn Itself Inside Out

By Jamie Condliffe on at

If you’ve ever felt like your life’s turned on its head, be thankful that you’re not this little embryo—which turns itself inside out.

This is the first footage ever captured of a living algal embryo turning itself inside out. First it looks like a sphere, then sucks itself up and inside out to resemble a mushroom, before finally morphing again back into a sphere. The footage was captured by researchers from the University of Cambridge as they studied the green alga called Volvox using fluorescence microscopy. The results are published in Physical Review Letters.

Watch an Embryo Turn Itself Inside Out

In fact, the act is similar to one known to occur in animal embryos, too. In a process known as gastrulation, animals embryos fold themselves inward to form a cup like shape—a stage of development which forms the germ layers that go on to form organs. The scientists have developed a mathematical model which simulates the process, too, which should help us understand the early stages of embryonic development with greater insight than ever. [Physical Review Letters via Phys.Org]