Winners' gallery

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Unravelled DNA in a human lung cell

Ezequiel Miron, University of Oxford

In order for plants and animals to grow and remain healthy, cells need to have the ability to replicate. During cell division, also known as mitosis, the entire DNA content of the cell is copied, with half going to each new cell. DNA is found in a region of the cell called the nucleus, which acts a bit like the brain. This picture shows the nucleus of one of two new daughter cells. The DNA in this cell has somehow become caught, and is being pulled between the two cells. This has caused the DNA to unfold inside the nucleus, and DNA fibres can be seen running through it. As the new cells have moved apart, the tension distributed by the rope-like DNA has deformed the nucleus’s usually circular envelope.

The width of this image is 84 micrometres (0.084 mm).

Imaging technique: Super-resolution microscopy

In its simplest form, light microscopy uses light to illuminate an object and a lens to magnify it. Super-resolution microscopy is an umbrella term for different types of light microscopy that overcome the conventional physical properties of light in order to achieve a higher resolution than is possible through standard light microscopy.

Location where image was created

Oxford, UK

Image creator

Ezequiel is a final-year PhD student investigating DNA packaging, which allows him to see in detail the beauty of things nobody has ever seen before. Ezequiel has always been fascinated by science, judging by his favourite shows as a kid: Dexter’s Laboratory, Pinky and the Brain and any good nature or technology documentary on TV. After years of academic study, his curiosity is not even close to satisfied, and he hopes to enjoy science for as long as he can. Find out more.

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