Heard an interesting podcast on Science Friday about a "brainbow:" a way of coloring neurons in a living brain to see the connections between them. Astonishing!!
Here's the Science Friday blurb:
"Building a Brainbow"
"Researchers have developed a technique that takes brain mapping to a new level, allowing them to label individual neurons in the brain in different colors. The technique, dubbed 'brainbow' by the researchers involved, could help scientists gain a better understanding of brain function than previous staining techniques allow.
" 'There are few tools neuroscientists can use to tease out the wiring diagram of the nervous system; Brainbow should help us much better map out the brain and nervous system's complex tangle of neurons,' said Jeff Lichtman, one of the authors of a report on the technique published in the journal Nature. (Full disclosure: Lichtman is also the father of Science Friday digital media producer Flora Lichtman.) In this segment, Ira talks with Lichtman about the technique and its potential applications to neuroscience."
There is more coverage on this story, including the Nature article:
* Livet, Jean, Tamily A. Weissman, Hyuno Kang, Ryan W. Draft, Ju Lu, Robyn A. Bennis, Joshua R. Sanes & Jeff W. Lichtman. Transgenic strategies for combinatorial expression of fluorescent proteins in the nervous system. Nature 450, 56-62 (1 November 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06293. (abstract only; full-text may be available @ your library).
* BBC News: Cell stains create a 'brainbow', Nov. 1, 2007.
* Science Friday: Building a Brainbow, November 2, 2007.
* Wired: Neurons or Pollock? Scientists Create Technicolor 'Brainbow', Oct. 31, 2007. -- with awesome graphics.