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July 03, 2014

Optogenetics: Lightly Pressing More and More of the Cell’s Buttons

The engineering of light sensitivity into specific parts of selected cells enables the dissection of signaling pathways.

Optogenetics: Lightly Pressing More and More of the Cell’s Buttons

MIT researchers using optogenetics to trace the neural connections involved in memory formation. Here, a cross-section of a mouse’s hippocampus shows island cells (green) projecting to the CA1 region of the hippocampus. [Takashi Kitamura]

“You can observe a lot just by watching,” said the accidental sage, leaving us to wonder whether he meant to celebrate the power or lament the futility of simply paying attention Were he scientifically inclined, he might have added that mere observation is unsatisfying because many things can be learned ...

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