In animal development studies, research has been undertaken using various experimental approaches. The embryo of the ascidian Ciona intestinalis develops through an invariant cleavage pattern among different embryos. In this study, 73 images from comprehensive whole-mount in situ hybridization analyses of C. intestinalis embryos were converted into simple character strings and tools for such a conversion from a picture (i.e., two-dimensional) to a character string (i.e., one-dimensional) are provided. It is expected that this approach would change the research style of developmental biologists from laboratory work to in silico experimentation similarly to the cases for computer-based researchers such as genome scientists and mathematical chemists, in that they can come up with new hypotheses or examine old ones in their particular research field. The unification of the production of empirical data in the molecular developmental biology area may enable the standardization of input data quality and promote comparative analyses.
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