Brainbow is a process by which individual neurons in the brain can be distinguished from neighboring neurons using fluorescent proteins. By randomly expressing different ratios of red, green, and blue derivatives of green fluorescent protein in individual neurons, it is possible to flag each neuron with a distinctive color. This process has been a major contribution to the field of connectomics, traditionally known as hodology, which is the study of neural connections in the brain.
The technique was originally developed in 2007 by a team led by Jeff W. Lichtman and Joshua R. Sanes, both at Harvard University. The original technique has recently been adapted for use with other model organisms including Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans, and Arabidopsis thaliana.
While earlier labeling techniques allowed for the mapping of only a few neurons, this new method allows more than 100 differently mapped neurons to be simultaneously and differentially illuminated in this manner. The resulting images can be quite striking and have won awards in science photography competitions.
- "Brainbow" | 2020-07-26 | 16 Upvotes 3 Comments
Peto's paradox is an observation that at the species level, the incidence of cancer does not appear to correlate with the number of cells in an organism. For example, the incidence of cancer in humans is much higher than the incidence of cancer in whales, despite whales having more cells than humans. If the probability of carcinogenesis were constant across cells, one would expect whales to have a higher incidence of cancer than humans. Peto's paradox is named after English statistician and epidemiologist Richard Peto, who first observed the connection.
- "Peto's Paradox" | 2022-11-05 | 142 Upvotes 68 Comments