Today? Today is... the BRAINBOW!
|Brainbow image of hippocampal neurons. Courtesy of Jeff Lichtman/Harvard University|
This, my friend, is what your brain looks like. Or, well, what it would look like if we used the fluorescent proteins in it.
You remember how last Tuesday I explained they could add a fluorescent protein to any other, making it easy to detect? And you remember the various colours created through genetic mutations? (If you don't, link at the top.)
Well, the Brainbow is perhaps the most spectacular use of this technique. Each individual neuron expresses a different amount of the red, blue and green mutants of the original GFP. Because the mix is not the same in each neuron, the resulting colour varies with every single neuron.
You can see, the result is striking. Since the technique was developped in 2007, multiple pictures were taken, some winning scientific images awards.
So here are some others, for your enjoyment!
|Brainbow image of the dentate gyrus. Courtesy of Jeff Lichtman/Harvard University|
|Confocal microscopy by Tamily A. Weissman|
I don't know for you, guys, but at this point I just call this art. Brainbow pictures give me an instant geekgasm. Neurons! With colours! Not to mention, this highlights the amazing complexity of our brains, and how much we've yet to learn about ourselves.
Kudos to the scientists working tirelessly on it. I'm too busy staring at the pretty picture!