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Scientists Create Transparent Mice for Human Brain Mapping Advancement

Aug 23, 2016 06:02 AM EDT
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Amazing news! A team of scientists has discovered a "revolutionary" way to create small animals, such as mice, completely transparent from head to tail to advance further research on brain mapping.

According to the study published in the journal Nature Methods, this new solution offers a way to view and observe cells in an intact body without the need to use magnetic resource imagining (MRI) or cutting up the specimen's flesh into fine slices to process them in a microscope.

“Now…we can look into the wiring of the whole mouse in high resolution,” said Ali Ertürk, a neuroscientist at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and co-author of the study entitled "Shrinkage-mediated imaging of entire organs and organisms using uDISCO."

Ertürk further said that this new process, dubbed as "ultimate DISCO" or uDISCO, creates a more efficient way in studying tumor cells and neurons. This is because by ditching old practices and using this method, scientists can now get a whole picture of the specimen, Popular Science reports.

In order to make a dead mouse transparent, scientists extract the water and lipids of the animal by soaking it in a solution until its body becomes glass-like. They then putt colored water into the cells they want to focus on for a clearer observation. The said process hardens the tissue but still maintains its flexibility as well as decreases the rodent's size. When put under a microscope, the transparent rodents gives a crisp, high-resolution of target cells.

The discovery opens doors in better understanding of mental disorders as well as unlocking the mysteries and complexities of the nervous system. In the future, Ertürk hopes to eventually map a human brain to observe how mental conditions as well as Alzheimer's disease.

 “This will give us hints how the miswiring is happening. And how we can then tackle it to make it correct," Ertürk said.

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