Saturday, August 2, 2014

Visibility of vermin

In a technique that removes lipids, which make tissue opaque, scientists at the California Institute of Technology have succeeded in rendering the skin of dead rats and mice invisible. Transparency will allow researchers to study nerve connections, organ systems, and other anatomical structures without having to slice the specimens up. After a hydrogel is injected to replace the supporting structure, the lipids can be flushed out with detergent. A much quicker process than immersion, PARS – perfusion-assisted agent release in situ – takes 1 week to complete on a mouse and 2 weeks on a rat. In response to whether the process could be used to prepare a human cadaver, American biologist and lead author Viviana Gradinaru says, "As long as you have a preserved circulatory system, the method is scalable, In theory it could."

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