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Imaging: in vivo bioluminescence imaging
Fluorescent proteins are mainstays for in vivo imaging of structures and cellular processes in lab animals. But they aren’t the only option for researchers who want to look inside their subjects. Bioluminescence, the glowing phenomenon observed naturally in animals like fireflies and a variety of marine organisms, can be used to give less luminous animals like mice and marmosets an inner light too.
In vivo bioluminescence imaging (BLI) is non-invasive and can function deeper in tissues than using fluorescent proteins and an external light source. It has its limitations, but the search is on to find better natural sources of the needed enzymes and substrates and to engineer optimized pairs for use in vivo.
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