Wissenschaftler haben mal wieder transparente Mäuse gemacht, diesmal mit einer neuen Methode namens uDISCO („ultimate 3-dimensional imaging of solvent-cleared organs“). Die Mäuse sind darüber hinaus geschrumpft und leuchten radioaktiv im Dunkeln. Yay, Science!
To make a transparent mouse, the researchers first remove the skin. They then begin injecting and bathing the animal with a series of chemicals, including a dehydrating agent and an organic solvent. This process takes several days to work its magic, as it gradually removes water and lipids from the mouse’s cells.
The dehydration process is what causes the mouse to shrink, while removing the lipids serves to render the mouse transparent. The end result is a mouse with its internal structures—even the bones—completely intact and almost entirely visible to the naked eye. By staining organ systems of interest with fluorescent proteins, the researchers can create a highly visible road map of various structures within the mouse, such as veins, or neurons in the brain and spinal cord.