Who Knew A Little Pee Can Turn A Mouse Embryo Clear?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Leave it to the Japanese to figure out another way to fuck with living beings. Turns out, when soaked in a solution of urea, (compound found in urine), and antifreeze, you can make adorable clear embryonic gummy bears. This solution is called scale and actually has practical uses aside from just making living things a badass shade of clear.

Scientists at RIKEN in Japan experimented with different recipes of "clearing agents", until they discovered the right combination of glycerol, urea, and Triton-X. When soaked in the solution for two weeks, tissues became crystal clear, allowing for some of the most detailed deep-image scans possible.

These substances allow scientists to study the inner workings of animals and their tissues like never before. When  used to clarify a mouse brain, scientists can trace individual neural paths, which can expand our understanding of how our own brains work. So far, this compound can only be used to clarify dead tissue. However, scientists are working on a solution that will hopefully allow living tissues to be studied.

Via Discover Magazine

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