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Opsins Travel to the Brain’s Hidden Places

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A rising number of light-sensitive proteins and optogenetics are enabling precise imaging of brain cells, as well as the potential to adapt functioning in neural networks.

DOUGLAS FARMER, SENIOR EDITOR [email protected]

The brain is one of the most complex systems in the known universe, a living computer that controls not only basic functions of the body but ponders and directs responses to what’s going on in its surroundings. But when it comes to understanding how the brain works — and, in some cases, how to heal what is ailing it — practitioners of optogenetics know that the answer can lie in natural optical phenomena that have existed since before modern life even began. In optogenetics, researchers and clinicians introduce a series of light-sensitive proteins that can effectively...Read full article

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