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The Brain in Full Color

Photonics Spectra
Dec 2007
Nancy D. Lamontagne

Researchers from Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., have developed a technique that can be used to visualize neuron connections by genetically labeling neurons with multiple colors of fluorescent proteins.

PeregColor_nature06293-s1-2.jpg

The method works much like televisions in that three colors (such as red, green and blue) can be combined to produce many different colors. The Harvard group’s technique produced a reconstruction containing approx-imately 90 colors, showing hundreds of neighboring axons in one small part of a mouse brain.

Shown on the left are the cortex and hippocampus (a-d), with b and d showing higher magnification of the boxed regions in a and c. Motor axon terminals in a skeletal muscle are shown in e. In a-d, scale bars equal 50 μm, and in e, 10 μm. Images reprinted from Nature with permission of the researchers.



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