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See-Through Organisms

August 1, 2014

Scientists have developed a technique to make tissues see-through.



See-through body parts. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

It’s easy to see that the leg bone’s connected to the hipbone. But what about a tiny nerve embedded in the brain and traveling through muscle? That’s a lot harder to figure out. In today’s issue of the journal Cell, Caltech and UCLA scientists describe a technique to make body tissue clear, including organs and ultimately, whole organisms. The chemical process lets researchers see details of tissue structure and connections that are normally hidden, and will help them understand cell interactions behind a variety of medical conditions.

In other news, sugary drinks impair adolescent rats’ ability to learn and remember, and cause inflammation in memory-storing structures of their brains. This according to research presented at this week’s annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior. The researchers suspect that highly sugared drinks could have similar effects on young people. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.