Infographic: Simultaneously Studying Neuron Structure and Function

A new methodology combines existing techniques to reveal the specific function and location of multiple types of neurons at once.

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Dan Robitzski

Dan is a Staff Writer and Editor at The Scientist. He writes and edits for the news desk and oversees the “The Literature” and “Modus Operandi” sections of the monthly TS Digest and quarterly print magazine. He has a background in neuroscience and earned his master's in science journalism at New York University.

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First, calcium imaging provides precise neural microscopy data on the arrangement and activity of individual cells within the brain of a live mouse. Then, hybridization chain reaction–fluorescence in situ hybridization (HCR-FISH) on tissue samples yields information on the expression of specific genes of interest. Combining these imaging methodologies into a technique called comprehensive readout of activity and cell type markers (CRACK), allows researchers to elucidate a cell’s type, connections within neural circuitry, and function.

Illustration showing how calcium imaging and HCR-FISH combined is a technique called comprehensive readout of activity and cell type markers (CRACK)

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