Courtesy of VisualSonics

The same technology that reveals to expectant parents the sex of their developing fetus is now being used for noninvasive, real-time imaging of small, live animals such as mice, rats, chick embryos, and zebrafish. Toronto-based VisualSonics' http://www.visualsonics.com Vevo 770 imaging system uses micro-ultrasound to generate high-resolution (down to 30 micrometers) images, allowing researchers to study embryonic and neonatal cardiovascular and neurological development as well as tumor development.

The system's main advantage over competing imaging technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) imaging is that ultrasound data can be collected within minutes rather than over the course of hours, which is critical for obtaining clear pictures from a living, breathing mouse. "For structures that are rapidly moving, things like the heart for example, it's very important to be able ... to look at the dynamics of the myocardium or the valves opening and...

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