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This time lapse series illustrates the early division up to the four-cell stage of a wild-type C. elegans embryo by DIC microscopy. The first C. elegans embryonic division of the P0 zygote is asymmetric and generates an anterior AB cell, and a smaller posterior P1 cell. These cells have different developmental fates and division timing, with AB dividing approximately 2 min before P1. Additionally, in early C. elegans embryonic cell cycles, S and M phases rapidly alternate without apparent gap phases. The series corresponds to experiments shown in Fig. 1B and Movie 2 of Mouysset et al. Movie is CIL 25629 and original data file is CIL 35124.

Technical Details

Eggs were extruded in M9 buffer from dissected adult worms and mounted on 2% agarose pads. Recordings were acquired at 4-s intervals with AxioCam HR or AxioCam MRc cameras mounted on Axioplan2 Imaging or Axiophot microscopes, respectively, equipped with differential interference contrast (DIC) optics (100×/1.3 Plan-Neofluar; Carl Zeiss).

Biological Sources

NCBI Organism Classification
Caenorhabditis elegans
Cell Type
early embryonic cell
Cell Line
Cellular Component

Biological Context

Biological Process
cell division
nucleus organization
Molecular Function
ATPase activity


Julien Mouysset
Alexandra Deichsel
Sandra Moser
Carsten Hoege
Anthony A. Hyman
Anton Gartner
Thorsten Hoppe
Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2008. 105: 12879-12884.
Proceedings National Academy of Scienc...


This image is part of a group.
Data Qualifiers
raw, unprocessed data

Sample Preparation

living tissue
Relation To Intact Cell
whole mounted tissue


Spatial Axis Image Size Pixel Size
X 960px ——
Y 586px ——
Time 4 sec 166
*CIL – Cell Image Library accession number. Please use this to reference an image.