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New tool sheds light on cell imaging

In the same way it's hard to see the Milky Way in a major city, researchers sometimes struggle to see tagged structures because of natural background light emitted by cells. In this week's __Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences__, however, researchers show that a new type of tag helps separate structures from the background. Gerard Marriott, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and colleagues found that using a blinking tag made it easier to spot cellular structures in live cel

Edyta Zielinska
In the same way it's hard to see the Milky Way in a major city, researchers sometimes struggle to see tagged structures because of natural background light emitted by cells. In this week's __Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences__, however, researchers show that a new type of tag helps separate structures from the background. Gerard Marriott, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and colleagues found that using a blinking tag made it easier to spot cellular structures in live cells. "Reading this paper is like, oh wow cool," said linkurl:Antoine Van Oijen,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/54605/ a biophysicist at Harvard Medical School who was not involved in the research, "people who do live cell imaging, always have to deal with background." The living cell is a "dirty environment," explained Marriott -- more specifically, live cells give off their own fluorescence. Any tag used to mark a particular cellular structure has to be brighter than...

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