How many of us have lain awake at night, wondering what a mouse embryo looks like during the early stages of its three week gestation? Well, you can find all your answers here thanks to an ongoing series from Cambridge University called "Under the Microscope." The most recent video shows seven days of mouse embryo growth, taking it from something that resembles a newt to something that almost resembles a mouse. More than just being interesting, researcher Erica Watson explains that because mice us similar genes during fetal development, there's a lot humans can learn from their rodent companions. Piqued your interest? See the video after the break.
Have you ever been taking a picture of your mouse embryo collection and gotten frustrated because the darn things just weren't transparent enough? Like a lot of other bizarrely specific issues, scientists have actually had this one before. In order to solve it, scientists at RIKEN in Japan have published a special "recipe" that will let you transpar-ify all of your mouse embryos in two weeks or less!
They accomplish this effect by soaking the embryos in something called Scale (italics are theirs) for around two weeks, the main ingredients of which are urea (yes, that stuff from urine), Triton-X, which is a kind of flesh-softening detergent, and Glycerol from antifreeze. That's it. There are already similar products on the market called clearing agents, but this one takes the cake in terms of effectiveness. While others can help you only see so deep, with Scale, the only limitation is the strength of your microscope.