This story is from the category The Brain
Date posted: 01/11/2007
Researchers at Harvard University in the US, have used the latest cell staining techniques to create a colourful "brainbow" of the tissues of the brain.
The team used a combination of multiple fluorescent proteins to colour neurons up to 90 distinct colours.
Researcher Dr Jeff Lichtman said: "In the same way that a television monitor mixes red, green, and blue to depict a wide array of colours, the combination of three or more fluorescent proteins in neurons can generate many different hues.
"There are few tools neuroscientists can use to tease out the wiring diagram of the nervous system.
"Brainbow should help us much better map out the brain and nervous system's complex tangle of neurons."
Each time the system was used it produced a different pattern of genes, which then produced a wide range of colours when the material was inserted into individual neurons.
Professor Ian Thompson, from the Medical Research Council's Centre for Developmental Neurobiology, said the new method gave a much clearer way of identifying not only individual neurons, but also the connections they make with other nerve cells.
The new method could aid research into the circuitry of the nervous system.
The researchers have so far used the brainbow to take a first peek at the nervous system of mice, and observe some previously unrecognised patterns of neuron arrangement.
See the full Story via external site: news.bbc.co.uk
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