Response to April 30 / May 1 Scratchings

General comment:
Students are getting much better about describing their observations.

May 1: chicken little - Urbana Middle School
The eggs seem to be small. How can their big feet, eyes and body all fit in there for 21 days? Why does the embryo absorb the yolk sac?

The chick doesn't "eat" anything for 21 days (and a couple more after it hatches, usually). It lives off the "fat of the land", using the yolk for energy and building materials. Eventually it all gets used up, which is a good thing, since that leaves room for the chicken. Check out the Egg Chemistry page for more about the yolk.

I've enjoyed working on chickscope and I hope to do this again sometime.Is it possible to find something that causes the images to be clearer?

"Clearer" is a bit vague. If you mean the blurring, we would need either a faster MRI machine or a slower chick. If the chick had died, the pictures would be very crisp and clear!

April 30: Michael Newton - Col. Wolfe University Primary School
When I was looking at picture "mri.00122.jpeg" I discovered a "white" spot. What is it?

You need to be more specific (like the scratchings below). There is a tiny dot at DE/45, which is an artifact (like dirt on the lens of a camera). Another spot, near the shell at D2 is probably a small blood vessel. The blurry spot at FG/45 is probably part of the chick, but we can't tell what.

April 30: david h., tuyet, fernanda - Urbana High School
In image mri.00159, what is the circular structure in quadrant E6?

Hard to tell. Sorry. One often needs more than one view to interpret structure from slices.

In image mri.00161 what is the structure in quadrant E7?

I don't see it.

April 30: Anna, Yvonne, Dasha, Rachel - Urbana High School
The final day has arrived. Before we get started with our observations we would just like to welcome the chicks to this vicious world. Well, let's keep them on the right track and let them figure out for themselves that it is a vicious world. Is there some way to better explain what the images are actually of? A more precise explanation of where we are looking on the egg?

I assume you mean that it is difficult to interpret the images. That's certainly true, especially if you only look at one at a time. You need to consider how various structures would look if sliced in different ways, then look for them in the other planes. Discard images that are obviously corrupted by motion. It takes a lot of patience. Looking at the chick as it develops helps some, since it gives you an idea of how big things should be, or whether they are bright or dark.

To put this in perspective, radiologists (doctors who look at x-rays and MRIs every day) spend years practicing, looking at thousands of films, before they make any diagnoses on their own. And the subjects of their pictures are generally cooperative (people will turn sideways if you ask them to, for example, or hold still). And they use very standardized poses for getting the images. The chicken doesn't understand that. So your job is actually harder, and you have had less practice.

It is really incredible to see how much the embryo has changed over the period of the project. We can see the wings in image 158. Very impressive. Well, our session is over. It's been fun working with you all. We hope that we can be research partners in the near future. Best of luck to all of you. By the way, when do our paychecks get here?!

Sorry, the research budget has been cut. No more paychecks.

April 30: david gu, patar tantular, ted zhang, helena milton - Urbana High School
#142. There is a dark spot on top. The view is top. There is a dark spot in the center of the white area. What is it?

Too vague. Maybe you mean the yolk at C-F/5-6 ? It gets darker toward the top (level 7) because the MRI machine doesn't "illuminate" that area too well.

#148. The view is side. There might be a head in the region of d5, what exactly is it?

Actually, I think that was a wing or foot. The head is at the end with the air sac.

#151 The image looks interesting. It is a top view picture. It is very detailed. You can see almost all the structures, including the hair and beak.

This has too much motion artifact (blurring) to be very useful to me.

#152 The picture is very clear. It is divided into several distinct sections. The embryo is clearly visible and the embryo is curled up in one corner. The air sac is still visible. What is the white space in the middle.

I think this might be the same projection you noticed in 148. Looks more like a wing than a foot from here.

#155 The view is side. There is a dark region in the c5 and d5 area. the air sac is not visible and the yolk is present.

Right, yolk.

#158 there is a side view. The head is present and there are ripples in the picture.


April 30: Laura Guest and Jaime Wilson - Urbana High School
Image 161: Is the beak in F6?

Impossible to tell. It's the right general area of the egg, though.

C.D.Gregory: April 24, 1996

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