Japanese Scientists Created Transparent, Nearly Invisible Mice

Japanese Scientists Created Transparent, Nearly Invisible Mice

Japan – Researchers from the RIKEN Quantitative Biology Center at Osaka University are busy with their newfound experiment that turns rodents into transparent, nearly invisible creatures.

According to these scientists, the biggest challenge was the light-blocking “heme” in hemoglobin. It is found in most tissue in the body of the mice which puts red into red blood cells. They found out that a substance that clears out the heme is also used to make brains transparent for imaging.

The group was first able to create translucent mice organs:

Kidney, liver and pancreas on the path toward near-invisibility

Kidney, liver and pancreas on the path toward near-invisibility

Then, they used the technique to clear heme from its body by using saline to remove blood from the circulatory system. This took about a couple of weeks before the mice turns to this:


According Kazuki Tainaka, the first author of the paper, experiment can be used to gain better understanding of organs.

“It allowed us to see cellular networks inside tissues, which is one of the fundamental challenges in biology and medicine.”

Here’s what it looks like when they added protein – some organs seemed to glow.


Researchers said this will help them study diseases that affect humans.

“It could be used to study how embryos develop or how cancer and autoimmune diseases develop at the cellular level, leading to a deeper understanding of such diseases and perhaps to new therapeutic strategies. It could lead to the achievement of one of our great dreams, organism-level systems biology based on whole-body imaging at single-cell resolution,” said Hiroki Ueda, who led the research team.

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Sarj Bagalay
Sarj Bagalay 357 posts

Hi, I'm Sarj. An introverted/OCD person who does not talk unless spoken to. When I get stressed out and completely overwhelmed, I just lay down on the floor and pretend to be a carrot--whatever that means.