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The Very First Beat: How a Heart Starts To Pulse

One moment, there's nothing, the next... a heartbeat. As a vertebrate embryo grows, its heart tissue starts to pulse well before it's needed. But how does the developing heart actually coordinate that very first beat?

Using microscopes and glowing fluorescent proteins, researchers have been able to watch zebrafish embryos during this key point in development and examine the process in real-time.