Abstracting the principles of development using imaging and modeling
Here we look at modern developmental biology with a focus on the relationship between different approaches of investigation. We argue that direct imaging is a powerful approach not only for obtaining descriptive information but also for model generation and testing that lead to mechanistic insights. Modeling, on the other hand, conceptualizes imaging data and provides guidance to perturbations. The inquiry progresses most efficiently when a trinity of approaches—quantitative imaging (measurement), modeling (theory) and perturbation (test)—are pursued in concert, but not when one approach is dominant. Using recent studies of the zebrafish system, we show how this combination has effectively advanced classic topics in developmental biology compared to a perturbation-centric approach. Finally, we show that interdisciplinary expertise and perhaps specialization are necessary for carrying out a systematic approach, and discuss the technical hurdles.
- This article is part of the themed collection: In Vivo Systems Biology