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Zebrafish, ready for its close-up

Posted by Sarah Laskow  October 31, 2012 05:22 PM

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A zebrafish is not very large. In an aquarium, it grows to less than two inches. It's bright and striped, and it can regenerate its fins, its heart, and its brain. And here is its blood-brain barrier:

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Actually, that's the blood-brain barrier - the system of vessels that sneaks through the brain, delivering it oxygen - of a live zebrafish embryo. Jennifer L. Peters and Michael R. Taylor photographed it, by scanning the embryo and creating tiny sections, 250 nm thick, that they then stacked on top of each other, to create a 3D image. They added the colors to communicate depth.

Their image won the 2012 Photomicrography Competition, which Nikon sponsors yearly. Many of the entries have the same ethereal quality as this one, but it's not necessary. The runner-up, Walter Piorkowski, submitted this photo of two newly-hatched lynx spiders, which pounce on prey, rather than building webs. These two look ready for action:

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(H/t Ars Technica)

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
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