To determine the developmental stage of embryonic mice, we apply a geometric morphometric approach to the changing shape of the mouse limb bud as it grows from embryonic day 10 to embryonic day 15 post-conception. As the ontogenetic sequence results in the de novo emergence of shape features not present in the early stages, we have created a standard ontogenetic trajectory for limb bud development – a quantitative characterization of shape change during limb morphogenesis. This trajectory of form as a function of time also gives us the reverse function: the ability to infer developmental stage from form, with a typical uncertainty of 2 h. We introduce eMOSS (embryonic mouse ontogenetic staging system) as a fast, reliable, convenient and freely available online tool for staging embryos from two-dimensional images of their limb buds, and illustrate its use in phenotyping early limb abnormalities.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Developmental Biology