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Embryonic Lethals

The International Mouse Knockout Consortium (IMKC) is generating one mouse line with each of the known 23,000 genes in the mouse genome knocked out. It is known that about 30% of these will be embryonic lethal. However, it is still important to know what has failed and what has been the functional deficit associated with each knockout.

Three-dimensional images of mouse embryos can be produced at high definition using micro computed tomography (CT) for larger embryos and using optical projection tomography (OPT) for early embryos at about day 9 - 10. Automated analysis methods are being developed to identify abnormalities in these embryo images to enable detailed phenotyping of these embryonic lethals.

Three-dimensional visualization of 48 segmented organ volumes of an E15.5 C57Bl/6 mouse embryo atlas comprised for 35 individual mouse embryo Micro-CT images. Each organ is shown in its native location within the mouse embryo volume (semi-transparent). Note that many organ volumes cannot be displayed because they are embedded or blocked by adjacent organs, especially those within the brain.


1. 1. Wong MD, Dorr AE, Walls JR, Lerch JP, Henkelman RM (2012). A novel 3D mouse embryo atlas based on micro-CT. Development 139, 3248-3256.

Research is funded in part by Genome Canada, National Institutes of Health and Ontario Research Fund

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