A spectacular “zebrafish selfie” has been awarded first place in the 2016 Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition, the camera maker announced today. The annual contest showcases “the beauty and complexity of life as seen through the light microscope,” according to Nikon’s website.
The winning image, chosen from among more than 2,000 entries from 70 countries, shows an extreme close-up of the odd and rather cartoonish face of a four-day-old zebrafish embryo. It was taken by Dr. Oscar Ruiz of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Ruiz uses zebrafish to study genetic mutations that lead to cleft lip and other facial abnormalities in humans.
“Defining the specific cellular behaviors that drive facial abnormalities will provide greater understanding of how we can prevent or repair these defects,” Ruiz told The Huffington Post. “My hope is that this image helps to convey the artistic side of science and presents our data in a way most people can relate to.”
Ruiz’s photo was among 96 winning pics honored this year in the annual contest. Scroll down to see the top 20.