SOUTHAMPTON, England, May 25 (UPI) — British scientists say they have adapted a biomedical technology and used it, for the first time, to image the internal tissues of a soft-bodied marine worm.
“Invertebrate worms are important for the functioning of marine ecosystems, and studies of their internal anatomy are needed to understand their physiology, ecology and evolution,” said Dr. John Dinley of the University of Southampton’s School of Ocean and Earth Science based at Britain’s National Oceanography Center. “Techniques such as dissection and the cutting of sections for light or electron microscopy studies are time consuming and destructive. What is really needed is a reliable, non-invasive method that can be used in the laboratory.”
Working with Professor Ian Sinclair of the University of Southampton’s Department of Engineering and other colleagues, Dinley developed the use of a technique called micro-computed X-ray tomography for scanning the internal structure soft-bodied marine worms.
“We believe that this is the first time this technique has been developed and successfully applied to the soft tissues of invertebrates without the use of tissue enhancing stains or radio-opaque fluids,” Dinley said. “Large-scale comparative anatomical studies are now feasible that will lead to greater evolutionary insights.”
The research that included Lawrence Hawkins, Gordon Paterson, Alex Ball, Ian Sinclair, Polly Sinnett-Jones and Stuart Lanham appears in the Journal of Microscopy.
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