To allow everybody a detailed analysis of nematode embryogenesis, we designed a program to analyze our 4-D recordings on standard Windows- or Mac-based computers.

Below access is given to download (i) a detailed manual explaining how to use this program including several figures and many questions that can be addressed plus some background information, (ii) The Viewer Program (executable JAR file), (iii) videos of 4 different nematodes, and (iv) an extensive review of nematode development (Schierenberg and Sommer, 2013).

For storage and handling of the 4 videos 8 GB RAM and about 6-8 GB of free space on your hard disc is required. Like with the expensive commercial 4-D software you can move forward and reverse through the videos quickly or image by image plus up and down within the developing embryo. The program allows studying cell division by division and events within blastomeres as far as visible with Nomarski optics. In addition, running time is shown and time intervals between selected events (e.g., cell cycle lengths) can be easily measured.

The material provided should allow teaching respective lab courses even by instructors not particularly familiar with nematode development. In contrast to live material developmental steps can be analyzed again and again in slow motion. It is suited for individual work in the classroom or at home, for instance, by addressing questions asked in the manual.

From the films of 3 other nematodes (their phylogenetic relationships are indicated in the manual) it becomes obvious that various deviations from the C.¬†elegans pattern exist already during early embryogenesis–some of them rather prominent–demonstrating considerable evolutionary modifications within the phylum Nematoda. A more detailed discussion of this issue can be found in the added review.

How to circumvent potential problems with uploading films into the viewer program once stored on your computer (particularly Plectus) is described in the manual. Therefore, it is advised to study at least the introductory part of it first. Computer freaks: Any suggestions, how to fix this bug? On demand I will be happy to share the source code of the viewer program.

As not everybody has access to the WBG you are welcome to spread the message to potentially interested colleagues. Please note that the whole package is for non-commercial use, only.

I am grateful to Philipp Schiffer, University of Cologne, for depositing the 4 files for download on the local SCIEBO server:

On the long run the data may possibly be shifted to another server. In this case go to Philipp’s homepage ( From there you will be redirected to the new location. If you run into problems with uploading please contact Philipp ( Any other feedback should go to me (see top).