So we’re shrinking animals and making them transparent. Like, in real life.

Nature Methods has the details on a process that seems totally like 1950s B-movie technology with a 1970s sci-fi name – a system called “ultimate DISCO” to prepare mice for study by making their bodies transparent and shrinking them to one-third their original size:

uDISCO preserves fluorescent proteins over months and renders intact organs and rodent bodies transparent while reducing their size up to 65%.

We used uDISCO to image neuronal connections and vasculature from head to toe over 7 cm and to perform unbiased screening of transplanted stem cells within the entire body of adult mice.


The same system, they say, could be used to help preserve, store, and study human tissue and “large organ systems” in us or other animals.

(It’s also covered in a more readable form – but behind a paywall – in The Wall Street Journal.)