Morphometric Staging of limb buds
Another important project in the lab relates to measurements of time. Almost all the gene expression data which exists about limb development has been recorded from ex-vivo analysis. However, the spatial patterns of certain genes (eg. Sox9) are extremely dynamic – apparently changing hour-by-hour. Knowing the age of a given limb bud should therefore be very important when comparing results, but the field has not had a convenient but accurate method for determining the stage of a limb.
Our lab has therefore created a new staging system which is based on morphometric measurements from the profile of the limb bud. It can determine the stage of a limb to within 2 hours, and we have turned this method into a web-based java application that will soon be openly available to to the whole limb community. Researchers with jpg images of their limb buds can log-on to our web-site and determine an accurate age of the specimen within a few minutes.