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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:


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:


(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.
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


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