An optimized procedure for whole-mount in situ hybridization on mouse embryos and embryoid bodies

Nat Protoc. 2008;3(7):1194-201. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2008.103.


Determining the precise expression pattern of a gene of interest at various stages of development is essential to understanding its biological function in embryology. This protocol describes a sensitive method for whole-mount in situ hybridization (WISH) to mouse embryos, using cRNA probes. Adaptations are provided that allow the protocol to be applied to embryonic stages ranging from blastocysts to postimplantation stage embryos, and to embryoid bodies. We also describe an in situ method for differential detection of two probes. Probe labeling and dissection and preparation of the embryos can be performed in 2 d. The actual WISH procedure can be completed in another 3 d.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Embryo, Mammalian / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Gene Expression*
  • In Situ Hybridization / methods*
  • Mice
  • RNA, Complementary / genetics


  • RNA, Complementary