Introduction: Sea Urchins
Sea urchins are spiny marine organisms; many different species are found in oceans around the world. Male and female individuals produce eggs and sperm that are shed freely into seawater. Scientists have long used the urchin as a model for studying fertilization and development.

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Sea urchin embryos treated with vinblastine
The chemotherapy drug vinblastine inhibits cell division. These sea urchin (Lytechinus pictus) embryos were treated with vinblastine and filmed for 5 hours. Normally, they would have developed to the hollow blastula stage during this time (compare to the movie Sea urchin embryos not treated with vinblastine).

Elapsed time 5 hours.
A population of sea urchin eggs was fertilized. Half the population was then treated with vinblastine and mounted in seawater between a slide and coverslip (using a silicon spacer). The untreated embryos served as a control (see the movie Sea urchin embryos not treated with vinblastine). Images of both treated and untreated embryos were taken at room temperature on a compound inverted microscope using a 20x DIC objective and digital camera.