Light sheet-based fluorescence microscopy (LSFM) is emerging as a powerful imaging technique for the life sciences. LSFM provides an exceptionally high imaging speed, high signal-to-noise ratio, low level of photo-bleaching and good optical penetration depth. This unique combination of capabilities makes light sheet-based microscopes highly suitable for live imaging applications. There is an outstanding potential in applying this technology to the quantitative study of embryonic development. Here, we provide an overview of the different basic implementations of LSFM, review recent technical advances in the field and highlight applications in the context of embryonic development. We conclude with a discussion of promising future directions. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
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