The technique developed by Ali Ertürk of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany and his team also shrinks the body to around a third of its original size, making it possible to view the whole animal under a microscope.
“We imaged the complete central nervous system of mice, and you can track individual cells several centimetres long that reach from the brain right through to the tip of the spinal cord,” he says.
The green colour…comes from genetically engineering the mice to contain a green fluorescent protein.
“It might be possible with larger animals, such as small monkeys, and possibly a whole human brain for the first time in the near future,” says Ertürk. The hope is that comparing the connectome of a healthy person with those of people with disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis or schizophrenia, could help us understand exactly how these conditions affect the brain.
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