Modern automated microsystems based on microhydrodynamic (microfluidic) technologies— labs on chips—make it possible to solve various basic and applied research problems. In the last 15 years, the development of these approaches in application to the problems of modern quantitative (systems) development biology has been observed. In this field, high-throughput experiments aimed at accumulating ample quantitative data for their subsequent computer analysis are important. In this review, the main directions in the development and application of microfluidics approaches for solving problems of modern developmental biology using the classical model object, Drosophila embryo, as an example is discussed. Microfluidic systems provide an opportunity to perform experiments that can hardly be performed using other approaches. These systems allow automated, rapid, reliable, and proper placing of many live embryos on a substrate for their simultaneous confocal scanning, sorting them, or injecting them with various agents. Such systems make it possible, in particular, to create controlled gradients of microenvironmental parameters along a series of developing embryos or even to introduce discontinuity in parameters within the microenvironment of one embryo, so that the head half is under other conditions compared to the tail half (at continuous scanning). These approaches are used both in basic research of the functions of gene ensembles that control early development, including the problems of resistance of early patterns to disturbances, and in test systems for screening chemical agents on developing embryos. The problems of integration of microfluidic devices in systems for automated performance of experiments simultaneously on many developing embryos under conditions of their continuous scanning using modern fluorescence microscopy instruments will be discussed. The methods and approaches developed for Drosophila are also applicable to other model objects, even mammalian embryos.
Russian Journal of Developmental Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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