A team led by the Indian-origin scientist Hari Shroff, head of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) has developed new, open-source 3D software that can track the embryonic development and the movement of neuronal cells throughout the body of the worm.
The tool could help better understand brain development in humans, researchers said. According to the scientists involved in the research, “Understanding why and how neurons form and the path they take to reach their final destination could one day give us valuable information about how proteins and other molecular factors interact during neuronal development.”
"We don't yet understand neuro-development even in the context of the humble worm, but we're using it as a simple model of how these factors work together to drive the development of the worm brain and neuronal structure," said Hari Shroff.
Hari informed that they are yet to understand neuro-development in the context of the small worm, and are still employing it as a simple model of how these factors mix together to drive the development of the worm brain and neural structure, translating some of the derived lessons all the way up to the humans.
While scientists have identified several important proteins that determine how neurons navigate during brain formation, it is still unknown as to how all of these proteins interact in a living organism. The research was published in the journal eLife.