German Researchers Make Your Shrunken See-Through Rodent Dream A Reality

By Stephen Fuchs on Email @StephenWFuchs

Your dream of one day having your very own miniaturized see-through rodent is close to becoming a reality thanks to a group of researchers in Munich. Wait… maybe that sounds more like a nightmare. Don’t worry though, in reality these vermin are dead before their skin and bones become transparent.

On a more serious note, this aforementioned breakthrough occurred at the Institute for Stroke and Dementia Research at Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich and was published in the Nature Methods journal on Monday. While it is not the first case of turning a once living creature transparent, it pushes the previous boundaries to make it something that gives researchers more precision and time to conduct studies.

transparent_rat_02

The technique involves using a special solution to strip away tissues of fat to leave only the transparent skin. During the process, excess water is also removed to miniaturize the rat to about a third of its original size.

By leaving the rat in this new state, researchers are able to study the intact organs to better understand both how they work and how diseases affect the body.

It is quite fascinating, and if you’re into more of the science behind the process, check out the research paper published on Nature Methods or get a slimmed down summary via The Wall Street Journal.

Sources: Nature Methods, Wall Street Journal

Photos: Ali Ertürk/Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich

Stephen Fuchs
Stephen founded German Pulse and LGBT Germany out of a passion to introduce Americans to a Germany that goes beyond beer and polka (although with enough beer he has been known to polka it up a bit). He's a coffee addict, lover of wine and good times, a hit in the kitchen and editor of TV commercials. You can follow him on Twitter (@StephenWFuchs) to find out a lot more.
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