IMAC – IS – ENAC, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland
The study of prehatching motility and hatching behaviour in chick embryos is of great interest in behavioural embryology and in medical research as these observations give us important clues concerning the underlying mechanisms. Here we use wave front interference to characterize the embryonic behaviour. A mapping of the behaviour pattern of chick embryo is achieved with no perturbation caused to its natural environment. The study thus opens the way to a better understanding of developmental events in birds in correlation with the prehatching behavioural history of corresponding chicks, and as such has a key role to play in the understanding and controlling of processes and in developing genetical manipulation or strategies for gene therapy. The device is expected to find applications in the study of behavioural effects in the chick embryo due to short/long term changes in incubation temperature, humidity, exposure to external auditory stimulations or to gamma irradiation, the introduction of exogenous DNA into chick embryos to study the eventual retardation of embryonic development or genetic manipulation. A promising feature of the scheme is that it enables for correlating the evolution of developmental events in a bird, through its life cycle, to its embryonic prehatching behaviour.