Green, Glowing Mouse Brains

Posted 17 Jul 2004 at 21:43 UTC by steve Share This

A recent CMU press release describes a breakthrough in the study of neurons in living animals. Alison Barth, a CMU neuroscientist, has developed a method to directly identify activated neurons in a living creature, genetically modified with a glowing green flourescent protein (GFP) and a gene called c-fos which turns on when a nerve cell is activated. Past methods such as MRI have allowed scientists to see only the general area of the brain in which activity was taking place but this new method shows precisely which neurons are active. The new method has been used to reverse-engineer the neural paths and activity in sensory data processing of mouse whiskers. This data could lead to better computer simulations of neural processes, among other things.

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