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 typically works on the news desk and joined the team in 2021. He has a background in neuroscience and earned his master's in science journalism at New York University.

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Apr 18, 2022

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)
© IKUMI KAYAMA, STUDIO KAYAMA

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This article was featured in April 2022, Issue 2 of the digest