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Chemical Cocktail Turns Mice Clear

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the thank-you-science dept.

Biotech 145

sciencehabit writes "Researchers have serendipitously discovered that a mixture of urea, glycerol, and soap makes membranes transparent. When they tried the mixture on a developing mouse fetus, they found that it removed all of the pigment from the cells, rendering the fetus completely transparent. The technique allowed scientists to see fluorescent neurons buried several millimeters in the brain."

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wow (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37270304)

I already see the next requirement from TSA..

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37270366)

Yea, but you will be able to by pass that requirement if you are willing to get a Body Cavity Search.
A BCS is not as good as being transparent, but some people are crazy and think that being transparent is not 100% safe.

Re:wow (1)

flaming error (1041742) | about 2 years ago | (#37270464)

Non-transparent suspects I mean travellers can get a waiver if they have TSA-approved life-recorder implants.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37270466)

Shame the process is lethal. Not that it would stop them from trying.

Why we have melanin or pigment in skin... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37271592)

is the same reason why an ASIC or Microprocessor is enclosed in a black package: because light harms or interrupts both electronic logic gates and bio-neurological receptor pathways.

Any creature born transparent if not melanistically leucistic then they would probably have all kinds of degenerative neural diseases or mental balancing issues between the left and right brain-phenomena.

Re:Why we have melanin or pigment in skin... (1)

Jager Dave (1238106) | more than 2 years ago | (#37273022)

All the more reason for the mandatory aluminum foil hat :)

Re:wow (-1, Offtopic)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 2 years ago | (#37270602)

The TSA are disgusting. I just had a fairly bad experience with them and I won't bore you with the details, but I will say categorically that John Pistole and company are lying about the procedures they use and how they go about things. At sky harbor airport in Phoenix they simply run everyone through the scanners - you can choose the scanner, the pat down or not to enter the secure area. that's it. I watched a news conference with TSA officials the night before I flew and they unequivocally state that you only get enhanced screening if you fail the other screening or are selected for some other reason and that on average only 3% are screened that way. Absolutely and completely untrue. And yeah, the TSA are "only doing their jobs". Well, yeah, so were the brownshirts in the 1930's. Our civil rights are being eroded on numerous fronts, but I guess it's all OK as long as no one misses the next episode of American Idol and everyone gets a shiny new iPhone. anyplace within 1,000 miles I need to go I'm driving, or I'm not going no matter how much I want to - I refuse to carry a bottle of lube with me everywhere I go.

Re:wow (-1, Offtopic)

rednip (186217) | more than 2 years ago | (#37270874)

. And yeah, the TSA are "only doing their jobs". Well, yeah, so were the brownshirts in the 1930's.

Someone shit in your cereal this morning? Nice ad hominem rant there

Re:wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37271034)

"Ad hominem" is not Latin for "that's mean!". The passage that you quoted is not an ad hominem argument.

Re:wow (0)

cvtan (752695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271126)

You are correct, sir!

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37271236)

Ad hominem [wikipedia.org] short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person advocating it

Well, I feel that claiming that TSA searchers are over invasive and doing their jobs like brownshirts, in whatever poltical effort that guy is pushing is pretty close.

Besides he used that same comment early today. In reply to this comment [slashdot.org] , which I'll claim is arguably a worse use of it. I meant to point that out, but instead I hit 'post' rather than 'continue editing', opps.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37270920)

Fly American next time you fly out of Sky Harbor. Different terminal, metal detectors. 'Nuff said.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37270926)

"Enhanced screening" now means a full body-cavity search. The body scans are "standard screening". Enjoy your flight.

Re:wow (0)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271688)

At sky harbor airport in Phoenix they simply run everyone through the scanners - you can choose the scanner, the pat down or not to enter the secure area. that's it.

What the hell are you talking about? I have flown through Sky Harbor about ten times now, and not once did I even have to LOOK at a scanner, much less use it or get a pat down. In fact, the worst thing that happened to me was that they made me throw my hair gel out, but not before they apologized profusely and told me I could mail it. The elevated bag search took less than five minutes, and even though I looked nervous as shit, my person got no additional searching. Sky Harbor is probably the best airport I've ever used, BY FAR. Compare: PHL.

Did you forget some people tried to bring a fake bomb aboard flying out of PHX like two weeks ago?

(sorry for the karma burn, mods)

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37270834)

And the next application of rule #34. They'll finally be able to shoot those creampies as they happen.

Discovered in a previously unknown manuscript (2)

gstrickler (920733) | about 2 years ago | (#37270344)

Steinbeck's "Of Invisible Mice and Men".

Re:Discovered in a previously unknown manuscript (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 years ago | (#37270436)

Not to mention Tom & Jerry...

Re:Discovered in a previously unknown manuscript (2, Funny)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 2 years ago | (#37272112)

I... I don't see what you did there.

Looks like a creepy gummi bear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37270362)

<n/t>

WHY DIS HAPPEN :( (2)

spazdor (902907) | about 2 years ago | (#37270454)

I'm just gonna come out and say it.

Science is horrible

Re:Looks like a creepy gummi bear (2)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 2 years ago | (#37270582)

Wait, that's not a baby mouse, that's a baby Predator!

Hold up on your patents! (2, Funny)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 2 years ago | (#37270364)

Re:Hold up on your patents! (5, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#37270518)

They used extremely common lab materials and seem to have told everyone the recipe: no patent was sought here. If they we going to try to sell it, they'd announce they had a secret, proprietary formula that could make your embryos turn clear. RIKEN, the institute that made the discovery, is not greedy. I've gotten DNA constructs from them before, they provided them free of charge, no contact making us promise to not share it, etc. If I could speak Japanese and if they'd hire me, I'd love to work there.

Re:Hold up on your patents! (0)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 2 years ago | (#37272118)

Nihongo ga benkyoushimasu. I need job.

Re:Hold up on your patents! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37272384)

The Japanese language is learning what?

Re:Hold up on your patents! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37272518)

nihongo wo benkyou simasu (I [will] study Japanese.)
OR
nihongo wo benkyou siteimasu (I'm studying Japanese.)

hatarakanakuttya!

Re:Hold up on your patents! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37272142)

No need to speak Japanese to work at RIKEN. They have some international researcher grants available.

Re:Hold up on your patents! (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#37272690)

Good to know, but I did work in Japan for a month, and had about a year of Japanese. The language barrier wasn't impossible, and I would have learned, but it just wasn't for me. I was oversimplifying, language wasn't the only reason.

Re:Hold up on your patents! (1)

Zouden (232738) | more than 2 years ago | (#37272268)

Unfortunately, the recipe itself is behind a paywall. Any chance of posting it here?

Re:Hold up on your patents! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37272360)

Ah, I worked there for two years, you don't need to speak Japanese, you just need relevant skills, as most of the labs are English speaking.

Re:Hold up on your patents! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37270642)

Sorry mate, but anything involved in being clear [wikimedia.org] requires a payment to your local Scientology chapter. We have effective ways of enforcing our intellectual property.

Why do you think the music and movie industries can get politicians to accept continuous copyright extensions? That's because of the influence of Scientology. Just ask Tom Cruise.

Re:Hold up on your patents! (1, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271102)

Dianetics, the auditing process by which one becomes "clear" of "engrams" (memories of past painful incidents), is just a fancy name for the PTSD treatment called abreaction therapy [wikipedia.org] by psychologists. The obsession with "Psychlos" in Scientology is just Hubbard's attempt to hide this connection.

Re:Hold up on your patents! (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37270854)

Ever wonder why he splashes everyone, but nothing else seemed to become invisible. I guess it only acts on cells! Good finding.

Not the worst (2)

ElrondHubbard (13672) | about 2 years ago | (#37270378)

That's not the worst thing science has ever done to a mouse:

http://www.milk.com/wall-o-shame/polytron.html [milk.com]

Re:Not the worst (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#37270800)

You know, they do euthanize the mice before they homogenize them, right? Scientists are not wantonly cruel.

Re:Not the worst (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37271296)

I'm sure you're right, but even if they didn't, I'd guess that a live mouse would qualify as fully dead 1/10th of a second after that thing was turned on (That's 45 blade rotations. Maybe 10-22 accounting for acceleration. )

Further, there wouldn't be enough brain matter connected together to register pain after about .25 seconds (at least 100 blade rotations).

The right thing to do- for us, as humans- would be to euthanize it first. Quite frankly, though, the mouse will be utterly dead far too fast for that to be considered cruelty.

Re:Not the worst (1)

Stormthirst (66538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37270822)

Why would need an unaerated homogenated mouse?

Re:Not the worst (3, Informative)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271092)

When you "Blend" a mouse, you are typically doing some kind of chemical or cellular assay (depending on the level of blending you may be looking at whole cells, but more than likely you're looking at chemistry, genetic material or sub cellular organelles.) Making a Frappe' of Mr. Muscus, really makes doing other testing difficult to impossible and adding large amounts of oxygen to disrupted tissues damages delicate cellular chemistry, ultimately ruining your research. So when you make mouse soup, it should as much as possible be sans frothy head.

Re:Not the worst (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271722)

True, you definitely want the aeration for a proper mouse mousse.

HG Wells gets another one right? (1)

kulervo (1597181) | about 2 years ago | (#37270390)

Is it me or is this the literal idea of the original HG Wells Invisible Man?

Re:HG Wells gets another one right? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37270428)

No, it's from his earlier rejected manuscript, the "The Invisible Dead Man". Interesting premise but not a lot of action in that one.

Re:HG Wells gets another one right? (2)

mmmmbeer (107215) | more than 2 years ago | (#37270638)

No, it was "The Invisible Mouse" by Edmund Wells.

Re:HG Wells gets another one right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37271162)

Nope, you're forgetting "The Translucent Mouse" by Orson Welles.

Re:HG Wells gets another one right? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37271342)

I wish I had mod points right now!

Re:HG Wells gets another one right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37271442)

Looks more like the mouse version of Lutefisk. Similar recipe too...

H.G. Wells had it first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37270396)

This is pretty much the whole plot of H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man.

Re:H.G. Wells had it first (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271154)

Now if only we could develop some sort of device for changing history, we could go back and make sure he doesn't give us any ideas.

Re:H.G. Wells had it first (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271172)

More like the ghouls in Fritz Lieber's Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser books.

Re:H.G. Wells had it first (-1, Offtopic)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271192)

Weird... I posted this, then went and did some metamoderation. The second comment for me to metamoderate was the one I'm replying to. I wonder whether if I go do metamod again, whether I'll get this comment?

Re:H.G. Wells had it first (-1, Offtopic)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271216)

In case anyone cares, I did, and parent comment was the first in the metamod list.

Infinity karma, here I come!

Phew! (0)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#37270398)

Phew! For a moment there, when they said "Chemical Cocktail Turns Mice Clear" I thought they meant clear as in e-meter/thetan/Scientology clear.

Re:Phew! (3, Funny)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37270740)

Mice aren't dumb enough to fall for that.

Interesting, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37270404)

...I don't see what all the fuss is about.

I wonder what it tastes like. (0)

donotlizard (1260586) | about 2 years ago | (#37270412)

Probably exactly like a Gummi bear.

Re:I wonder what it tastes like. (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271730)

Or clear chicken.

Dear God (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about 2 years ago | (#37270426)

If the squirrels get a hold of this, there will be no stopping their agents now.

Only a matter of time.

Not Usable for Living Beings (1)

Forestwalker (2428752) | about 2 years ago | (#37270430)

Not useful on living beings. Awwe too bad.. would have made a great Halloween Costume choice.. provided it could be reversed in short order. Women want men to be transparent.. Right ? If were useful for the Living.. I wonder how this might change Medical science .. surgery , Nero Science and such ? It must be terribly Toxic.

Re:Not Usable for Living Beings (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 2 years ago | (#37270794)

FTA: "Scale is too strong to use on a living animal"

Yeah, I thought the same thing. It'd be kind of cool to see a transparent mouse. (If also disturbing.)

Re:Not Usable for Living Beings (1)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271018)

FTA: "Scale is too strong to use on a living animal"

Yeah, I thought the same thing. It'd be kind of cool to see a transparent mouse. (If also disturbing.)

To say nothing about what would happen if the next Lady Gaga got ahold of this stuff.

Still, it's an interesting development. Wonder if they can replicate the effect with something more conductive to living tissue. I'm thinking Transparent Eyes, or tough wooden windows that are much less likely to be broken into. Or for the truly green out there, a solid wood computer monitor.

Re:Not Usable for Living Beings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37270968)

My question was more along the lines of "what's the point in seeing the neurons in a dead animal?"

But did they figure out the most important part? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37270472)

Can it feel pain, and did it have a soul?

Because that's the important part of a fetus.

Re:But did they figure out the most important part (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271158)

Yes, but no more so than a pro-lifer.

A mixture of urea, glycerol, and soap... (1)

TBBle (72184) | more than 2 years ago | (#37270502)

Researchers serendipitously discovered that a mixture of urea, glycerol, and soap

I'm guessing this discovery was the result of someone taking a shower after some kind of urine-related lab prank...

dubious science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37270516)

Adding soap will hardly make those subsequent experiments looking at neurons physiological.

Re:dubious science (5, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#37270616)

Yes it will. Controls will be treated as well. Furthermore, this isn't a live technique. You fix the embryo with paraformadehyde first probably. This is for looking at morphology of cells or tissues, not living function. You have one mouse line with a mutation that causes blindness, one without, you cross in a fluorescent marker that makes their optic nerves glow. You get the embryos, fix them, do this thing to them, then you can clearly see how it's affecting the nerve, for example. A lot less disruptive than the alternative of cutting it into slices.

But does it drive them insane? (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37270522)

I seem to recall some prior art in this subject.

Greatest obituary line ever... (5, Funny)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 2 years ago | (#37270530)

Eaten alive by invisible rats.

Science is about making horrible dreams a reality.

Re:Greatest obituary line ever... (4, Interesting)

gknoy (899301) | more than 2 years ago | (#37270558)

Science is about making horrible dreams a reality.

Somewhere, someone just found a new signature. ;)

Re:Greatest obituary line ever... (5, Funny)

Sasayaki (1096761) | more than 2 years ago | (#37270706)

Done and done.

Re:Greatest obituary line ever... (-1, Offtopic)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271314)

Science is about making horrible dreams a reality. Religion is about giving you the horrible dreams.

Re:Greatest obituary line ever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37271370)

Eaten alive by THREE-FOOT invisible Brooklyn-dwelling rats, seeking revenge for their fellow three-foot rat who got impaled on a pitchfork. (There. Corrected it for you.)

Re:Greatest obituary line ever... (1)

jovius (974690) | more than 2 years ago | (#37272996)

It's somewhat a mystery that we have not self destructed yet. I can't say if it's because we are not reasonable enough or that we are.

Doesn't seem that difficult... (2)

pLnCrZy (583109) | more than 2 years ago | (#37270708)

Kevin Bacon did it 11 years ago. To a gorilla. And then himself.

Soylent Green (0)

Raenex (947668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37270758)

It's people!

First Stop... (1)

lexsird (1208192) | more than 2 years ago | (#37270782)

First stop, the girls' shower room for a "deposit", second stop, the bank for a "withdraw."

I'll believe it when (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37270838)

some of the researchers mysteriously disappear.

Chemical Cocktails (2)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 2 years ago | (#37270850)

I know a few chemical cocktails that can make people THINK they're invisible. And bulletproof.

Cure for Scientology! (0)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#37270884)

Let me get this straight. It is lethal to living beings but makes them completely "clear".

I do believe this would solve a number of issues with Scientology. Adherents could become a "Clear" and achieve oneness with the great L. Ron all at once!

Xenu is quaking in his boots at the though.

Bear Grylls Science (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#37270904)

Scientist #1: We're having problems observing these neurons! Blasted plain optics!

Scientist #2: If only there were some way to make the mouse embryo transparent!

Bear Grylls: Soak it in piss! *gulp*

What a novelty! (2)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271114)

Makes one wonder if there is a less toxic way to attain the same effect? Definitely an ice breaker at parties! On the flip side, adding this concoction to embalming fluid would almost certainly make for exciting funerals!!!

Re:What a novelty! (1)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271990)

On the flip side, adding this concoction to embalming fluid would almost certainly make for exciting funerals!!!

Fund it!

Big deal (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271144)

Turning mice clear isn't really that impressive.

All it takes is a four or five vodkas with cranberry juice to make everything unclear.

And the cranberry juice is optional, unless you happen to suffer from a mild urinary tract infection, in which case I highly recommend it.

I can't wait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37271298)

Clear mice should seriously freak my cat out. Load her up on cat nip first and she'll think it's a really bad trip.

Does this only affect ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271336)

... the three-dimensional protrusion of the pan-dimensional, hyper-intelligent race of beings that we perceive as mice?

And what wrath have these foolhardy researchers brought upon this planet should these beings become unhappy with their new appearance?

Uhmmm...this isn't exactly new... (1)

IonOtter (629215) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271372)

Re:Uhmmm...this isn't exactly new... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271638)

True. It's also done to dead mice because the process is strong enough that it would kill living mice. Plus it was only done on fetuses which are small enough that the transparency is useful.

Re:Uhmmm...this isn't exactly new... (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271738)

Yeah, not even close. The point here is the fetus is still alive and developing, so they can watch individual fluorescent-stained neurons grow. Pretty cool, really.

Re:Uhmmm...this isn't exactly new... (1)

IonOtter (629215) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271878)

Whoa, wait...what???

The article says it's not being used on a living animal.

Hmmm. Perhaps the difference here, is that the old method for clearing and staining didn't highlight the neurons, whereas this one did?

Re:Uhmmm...this isn't exactly new... (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37272218)

Whoops, I totally missed the last sentence for some reason and read "developing mice" as still developing. My mistake!

I think you're right, the key was that it didn't affect the fluorescent dye. Still useful, but not earthshattering.

Transparetnt.... (1)

wideBlueSkies (618979) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271452)

But can they do this with aluminum??

I can only imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37271514)

How this "cocktail" came about....
Urea...urine....check
glycerol....personal lubricant....check
soap.....hmmm.....check ......

Jelly mice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37271578)

Mmm.. yum yum yum

Next: The Invisible Man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37271596)

Did anybody else think this when they read the title?

Which will we have first:

Invisiblity cloak

-or-

The invisible man

Invisible pr0n? (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271692)

Invisible pr0n is no fun... well, at least not for most people.

do they live? (0)

vmaldia (1846072) | more than 2 years ago | (#37271790)

do the embryos live? any toxicity? do newborn mice still retain the transparency? how about if you wait till they become adults?

Are you ponderin' what I'm ponderin'? (5, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#37272058)

- That we turn ourselves invisible and take over the world?
- EXACTLY

Re:Are you ponderin' what I'm ponderin'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37272442)

It's been done already

When Is It Cruel? (0)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37272096)

I understand the value of experimenting on mice and other animals. But that's the benefit, that gets weighed against the cost.

Where is the limit to what we can do to an animal before it is unacceptably cruel? Against which no actual benefit can justify the cruelty? How does it feel to be as mutated as these transparent mice would be if they survived gestation? If they survive past the point where there are functioning nerve networks to feel how it is, how cruel is that?

Re:When Is It Cruel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37272396)

Where is the limit to what we can do to an animal before it is unacceptably cruel?

When they can ask us to stop?

Re:When Is It Cruel? (0)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 2 years ago | (#37272544)

Are you volunteering to replace the test animals? Or are you going to give up all medical treatment because of the history of animal testing?
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