Japanese Scientists Create See-Through Mice (SFW; MAYBE ICKY)
This is Pretty Cool and a Little Yuck
A Japanese team lead by Dr. Kazuki Tainaka and/or Dr. Hiroki Ueda, based at the RIKEN research institute and working in collaboration with the University of Tokyo and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), has developed a method for extracting nearly all pigmentation from your standard mouse. The researchers’ paper was recently published in Cell magazine, but we can’t definitively say whether it was Tainaka or Ueda calling the shots because sometimes the AFP is not make jurnalizm.
Recipe for De-Colored Mouse
Sooper simplified, first the science guys pump saline into the animal’s heart to force the entirety of its blood, uhhh...out. A reagent, which is basically biological transformation juice, is then introduced to monkeywrench this stuff called haem, an iron-containing compound that makes blood red and pervades soft tissue. The mice are then skinned and marinated in the same haem-jiggering reagent for up to two weeks, and when the egg timer goes...DING! Voila, transparentification!
Thereafter, using lasers and other high-tech stuff stuff, the animals can be viewed kinda layer-by-layer, and organs and other parts can be examined without slicing and dicing, i.e., anatomical context is preserved for the doing of better, or at least different science.
Now, just in case the whole saline oil change didn’t make the point, this does not mean that Japanese pet stores will be stocking translucent mice anytime soon: as one might imagine, these procedures kill the mice deader than fried chicken.
And No, They Weren’t Just Goofing Around
Tainaka and Ueda and friends aren’t a bunch of mad scientists spending private and public money to create bizarre hybrids or horrific mouse-based windows and chandeliers. Their research is intended to provide insight into embryonic development, gene expression, and the earliest stages of cancers and autoimmune disorders. Turns out clear mice are good for that.
Alright, cool then. Carry on!
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