Article ID: CBB109948939

Animating Embryos: The in toto Representation of Life (2017)


With the recent advent of systems biology, developmental biology is taking a new turn. Attempts to create a ‘digital embryo’ are prominent among systems approaches. At the heart of these systems-based endeavours, variously described as ‘in vivo imaging’, ‘live imaging’ or ‘in toto representation’, are visualization techniques that allow researchers to image whole, live embryos at cellular resolution over time. Ultimately, the aim of the visualizations is to build a computer model of embryogenesis. This article examines the role of such visualization techniques in the building of a computational model, focusing, in particular, on the cinematographic character of these representations. It asks how the animated representation of development may change the biological understanding of embryogenesis. By situating the animations of the digital embryo within the iconography of developmental biology, it brings to light the inextricably entwined, yet shifting, borders between the animated, the living and the computational.

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Authors & Contributors
Tobbell, Dominique
Scandura, Jani
Tassy, Olivier
Geyer, Stefan H.
Weniger, Wolfgang J.
Darras, Sébastien
Perspectives on Science
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Endeavour: Review of the Progress of Science
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change
Oxford University Press
University of Minnesota
Models and modeling in science
Visual representation; visual communication
Computer Simulation
Climate and climatology
Medicine and technology, relationships
Imaging technology
Poincaré, Jules Henri
Mailer, Norman
Garfield, James Abram
Mann, Thomas
Ihde, Don
Time Periods
21st century
20th century
20th century, late
19th century
20th century, early
United States
Great Britain
Club of Rome

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