A ground-breaking new aqueous reagent which literally turns biological tissue transparent has been developed by researchers at RIKEN, Japan's flagship research organization.
Experiments using fluorescence microscopy on samples treated with the reagent, published this week in Nature Neuroscience,
have produced vivid 3D images of neurons and blood vessels deep inside the mouse brain. Highly effective and cheap to produce, the reagent offers an ideal means for analyzing the complex organs and networks that sustain living systems.
Our understanding of biological organisms and how they function is intrinsically tied to the limits of what we can actually see. Even today's most promising techniques for visualizing biological tissue face this limitation: mechanical methods require that samples be