Transparent brains and a revolution of studying every organ and tissue
Deisseroth and his lab published the most detailed images of whole mouse brains that we have seen to date. To understand how this was achieved, we need look no further than a few techniques that have already been used for decades in the labs of neuroscientists and biochemists.
Deisseroth has named his technique, Clarity, for Clear Lipid-exchanged Acrylamide-hybridized Rigid Imaging/Immunostaining/In situ hybridization-compatible Tissue-hYdrogel. Other researchers have tried to clarify brains in the past by lipid extraction techniques, but they usually ended up removing almost half the protein as well. The Clarity technique removed only around 8% of it.
The Clarity technique is not a direct component of the new BRAIN Initiative, although it will radically transform neuroscience. Whole swaths of departments will lose funding and be made obsolete, while others re-purposed. The study of not just the brain, but of every organ and tissue of the body, will be revolutionized.
"Studying intact systems with this sort of molecular resolution and global scope — to be able to see the fine detail and the big picture at the same time — has been a major unmet goal in biology, and a goal that CLARITY begins to address"