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Scientists turn mouse transparent

Posted on Aug 01 2014 | IANS

Washington, Aug 1 : In a major breakthrough, scientists have transformed a mouse into a "see-through" creature that can give them a clearer view of the body tissues for research.

With the technique called CLARITY, the body of the mouse has been rendered transparent.

The method involves a water-based gel and detergents and can reveal all of an animal's organs - from its brain to its kidneys - while keeping them intact.

"This is the first study to perform whole-body clearing as opposed to first extracting and then clearing organs outside the adult body," said Viviana Gradinaru, a neuroscientist at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

The earlier method for rendering individual organs transparent had been used only in the case of brains and embryos.

Gradinaru and her team adapted the technique to use on whole mouse bodies.

The gel allowed them to remove the fatty molecules quickly.

In order to prevent tissue damage, they injected the gel and detergents directly into the rodent's bloodstream and within two to three days, organs like kidneys, heart, lungs and intestine turned transparent.

Within two weeks, the entire brain had turned clear as well, Live Science reported.

"We have also developed a solution for storing and imaging thick chunks of transparent tissue. Once tissue is stored in this way, scientists will be able to see the connections between cells, as well as the structures and molecules inside cells," researchers asserted.

The study was published in the journal Cell.

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