Brainbows – neurons and pixels

Somebody is bound to steal these digital images for textile design… Today’s announcement of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry honours the work of 3 scientists, 2 American and 1 Japanese, for their work in exploiting the luminosity of jellyfish for medical purposes. Using genes that produce luminescent proteins, they were able to tag cells in the body to aid in brain and cancer research. 

 egosumdaniel explains how it works:

The photo above shows the brain stem of a transgenic mouse that has been modified using an exciting new technique called Brainbow. The mouse has been modified to express 4 different fluorescent proteins randomly in different neurons. 

Much like pixels make many different colors possible on your screen, the different random combinations of green, red, cyan and orange fluorescent proteins make it possible to color individual neurons in nearly 100 different hues. You never know from the beginning which color every individual neuron is going to get, but with a choice of nearly 100 different possibilities chances are you’re going to observe every individual neuron glow in a different hue, making it possible to chart complex neuronal pathways… [The brain is] simply going to glow in the dark.

More here.

 

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