In 50 hours, the Xenopus embryo turns from a single egg cell into a complex organism with highly differentiated tissues: beating heart, flowing blood, contracting muscles, functional sensory organs. This process has been examined by scientists for over 150 years yet we can not claim a thorough systems-level understanding of how it works. Today, embryology is enjoying a technological revolution. We are able to observe the molecular (DNA, RNA, metabolites and protein) makeup of life at unprecedented resolution: the complete genome sequence, expression level of all proteins at genomic scale, messenger RNA expression at a single cell level as it changes over time. This enormous amount of data already constitutes a treasure trove for embryologists working on particular molecular circuits, but we are only just beginning to sense paradigm shift towards mathematical description and modeling of embryonic development.
In this talk I will review these new data acquisition tools, explain what are the challenges and achievements, and discuss what we can expect in the near future and what we have learned already. I expect to combine slide presentation with chalk-talk and open discussion.