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Planet Earth

Visual Science: A Close Look at the Original Information Superhighway

A detailed microscope image shows the complicated structure of a fish's nervous system.

zebrafish.jpg
Image courtesy of Albert Pan/Harvard University | NULL

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The Moment: Fluorescent proteins illuminate the neurons that sense touch, temperature, and pain in a live larval zebra fish. Each cell expresses a different color, allowing researchers to trace connections in the fish’s neural network. Images like this one help Harvard University neurobiologist Albert Pan study how zebra fish distinguish painful sensations from other sensory stimuli—work he hopes will provide insights into human pain.

The Shot: Pan took this digital image with an Olympus FluoView FV1000 con­focal microscope using a 20x objective and a photomultiplier tube.

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