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Mouse brain

Luis de la Torre-Ubieta, Geschwind Laboratory, UCLA

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Confocal micrograph of nerve cells inside a section of adult mouse brain. The brain has been sliced (like a loaf of bread), and one of those pieces is seen here. After being sliced, it was chemically treated to make the tissue transparent so that structures deep inside could be more easily seen. A subset of nerve cells tagged with a visual marker (green fluorescent protein) were visualised at different depths through the piece of tissue, which is 0.75 mm thick. The markers are colour coded from red (nearest) to orange, yellow, purple, blue and green as you look into the image. This technique is being used to map the complex wiring of whole brains. This brain is 7.4 mm wide.

What did the judges like about this image?

Catherine explains: “The beautiful colours and incredible level of detail in this image drew us in, inviting us to look more and more closely at it. The fine lines showing the nerve fibres ‘shooting’ across this tiny slice of brain also give it a feeling of movement and complex activity.”

Catherine Draycott, Head of Wellcome Images