Removal of yolk from insect embryos?

Dave Angelini dangelin at
Fri Apr 5 10:07:02 EST 2002

I'm looking for a way to chemically or mechanically remove the yolk from the
embryos of a heteropteran insect -- One that doesn't require dissecting it
away with forceps, and that preserves the morphology of the embryo for some
good light photomicrographs.

These eggs are about 1mm long with a waxy chorion that comes off easily with
a mild fixative, but the embryo and yolk are surrounded by a much thinner,
brittle membrane that's very hard to see. (This is why I'd rather remove it

I've tried heptane, as well as the Drosophilists' "cuticle prep" (cooking
overnight at 65C in glycerol/acetic acid). Neither of these has any effect
on the yolk, although the cuticle prep makes the yolk (and the embryo) a bit
clearer and less milky.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

-Dave Angelini


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