“Glow in the dark” worms

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This image, of an immunostaining of the nerve system of the scale­worm Harmothoeimbricata was taken by Masha Plyuscheva, from the Evolutionary Genomics laboratory (CRG). Continue reading ““Glow in the dark” worms”

The extra finger of the chicken

The extra finger of the chicken In this image from the CMRB we can see the induction of an extra finger in the interdigital space of a chicken. This finger has grown thanks to a microsphere (the blue dot in the image) that is covered in Activin A, a molecule with the ability to form cartilage. The microsphere was introduced in the interdigital space of the chicken embryo when it was 5 days old. After incubating it for 3 more days, the Activin A has induced the formation of the finger. Continue reading The extra finger of the chicken

The look of the retina

The retina, or photosensitive layer, forms the deepest layer of the posterior compartment of the eye. It consists of three basic types of cells: neurones, pigmented epithelial cells and neuronal support cells. Different photoreceptor cells can be distinguished among the neurones: the colour receptive cone cells and black and white receptive rod cells. A third type of photoreceptor cells has photosensitive ganglions, responsive to light intensity. The CMRB is working on different protocols to differentiate retinal cells from stem cells, with the aim of future application in regenerative therapy. The picture shows a cell culture in the process of differentiation … Continue reading The look of the retina

The path to life of the zebrafish

This picture of the department of Histology and Bioimaging of the CRMB shows different stages of Zebrafish embryonic development using a confocal laser microscope. The actin is stained red and in blue the yolk, which feeds the developing embryo. The phases are fist one cell, then two cells, four, and finally the result 48 hours after fertilization. Continue reading The path to life of the zebrafish

Coloring the formation of the skeleton

During the endochondral bone formation of vertebrates, the mesenchyme condensates and gives rise to cartilage which eventually is replaced by bone. In the picture performed by Ulrike Brandt-Bohne from the Genes and Disease Department of the CRG the bones of a newborn mouse are stained pink and the cartilages which are not ossified stained blue with an Alcian Blue/Alzizarin Red Skeletal Staining procedure. The aim of this staining was to visualize the skeletal structure of WT (wild type) versus mutant mouse models in order to detect changes in the skeletal morphology. Continue reading Coloring the formation of the skeleton

The colours of science

Science, in its day-to-day form, presents itself full of colours, as many as a painter’s palette and with the rainbow’s range of tonalities. The single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are the most common variations of the human genome. These small modifications are very useful in medical research of complex diseases and to develop new drugs. The SNPs present few variations between generations, a fact that allows us to follow the evolutionary processes in studies of population genetics. They are also used in some genetic tests, such as paternity tests or forensic analyses. The use of SNP arrays, seen in the image, … Continue reading The colours of science

The New Cajal Era

More than 100 years have passed after the first contributions made by Santiago Ramón y Cajal to the neural network theory. Nowadays neuroscientists take advantage of innovative tools to study neural circuits in order to understand complex behaviours. This image by David D’Amico, from the group on neurobehavioral phenotyping of mouse models of disease at the CRG, shows the hippocampus of a transgenic mouse expressing yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) in specific subsets of central neurons. This type of tansgenic mice help scientists to understand neural networks in both physiological and pathological conditions. Continue reading The New Cajal Era

Little big fly

  In this photo taken by Cristina Morera Albert, of the CMRB, a house fly is observed with a scanning electron microscope (SEM). This type of microscope uses electrons and electromagnetic lenses to “illuminate” a sample allowing visualising the sample in 3D at high magnification. In this case, we observe the compound eyes of the fly and its thorax, which is divided into three segments: prothorax, mesothorax and metathorax. The thorax is covered by hairs called bristles, which are always arranged in the same place and have a sensory function. One can also see the wings, which protrude from the … Continue reading Little big fly