Methods for Moving Eggs

During a search of alternatives to mouth pipetting individual embryos from plate to plate i came across an article in the Worm Breeder’s gazette from David Baillie’s group where they had tested other methods;

They found that 1. platinum was a killer.

                     2. monofilament fishing line was ok (not sure how long it took before the embryos took the bait though)

Before I head to the local anglers shop, has anyone tried fishing line?


Hmm… I occasionally pick embryos for age synchronisation with standard platinum wire and have never noticed a problem with them not hatching (not that I’ve looked for it). I find it easier to pick the embryos when there’s plenty of bacteria on the pick. If the problem when they used platinum wires was desiccation, then maybe the presence of a splodge of bacteria on the pick could prevent it?? I’ve never tried any other methods

Hi Ben,

thanks…I too have never noticed a problem with platinum, but like you I’ve never really looked.

It’s only now that I’m doing a series of experiments where I want to assess embryo viability (as a co-variable) that extrinsic factors such as ‘death by platinum’ and bacterial ‘splodge’ size become more important.

Of course, I can compare viability across samples and between control and test conditions so this shouldn’t be a huge problem.

I was mainly just curious if others had seen an effect on picked vs. pipette-based embryo transfer.



Hi Steve!

As part of a protocol I was developing once, I picked single embryos (post laying - pre comma stage) using a platinum wire and bacteria as “glue”. I placed them in single wells (12 well plates ) and followed
them until adulthood and I never noticed embryonic lethality ( n aprox 100). What % lethality are you experiencing using the wire?


Hi Alejandro,

that’s just it, I haven’t noticed a problem (basically no lethality) and it was only when I stumbled across this old gazette report that I wondered if I’d missed something.

I use a platinum wire and in my hands it seems to be ok (aside the occasions where I flick the egg into space). I’m trying out very fine (30µm) stainless steel wire at the moment for that ‘finer touch’…but it takes a bit of getting used to!

Thanks for your comments though. Perhaps David B. can update us?