Egg laying up close and personal

I hope you’ve been enjoying watching videos of crawling worms.  With some patience, you may have even already found some egg laying events.  If so, good work and thanks!

You may be wondering though, how are the eggs actually laid?  What does it look like?  You can’t make out much detail in the tracking videos where we need to be able to see the whole worm.  The eggs basically just look like little ovals that pop instantaneously out of the worm.  But with a higher powered microscope it’s possible to zoom in and make out details of the worm’s vulva and even to see the individual cells that make up the embryo in the egg!

Here’s a video made by my Medical Research Council colleague Robyn Branicky that shows very clearly just what laying a worm egg looks like.

Even the adult worm has fewer than 1000 cells, but it develops these quite complex structures that can perform an amazing variety of functions.  I find it beautiful.

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About André Brown

I'm a scientist with the Medical Research Council in the UK.

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