Cells, dyes and videotape: Online scientific methods journal incorporates multimedia

COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. (Fri., Nov. 3, 2006) -- Observing the microscopic mysteries of embryos, cells, and chromosomes is feasible with advanced live imaging technologies. In space and time, researchers can follow the fates of embryos, track migrating cells, and watch how molecules signal and interact with each other--all in their native environments. The current issue of CSH Protocols, released online today (www.cshprotocols.org), includes biomedical research techniques that incorporate this 'cellular cinematography' and--for the first time--adds multimedia content in the form of movie clips.

Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but they are static: photographs do not truly capture the lively properties of cells and embryos. Images that move in real time permit biologists to more fully observe and compare biological processes. CSH Protocols now has the capability to present movies, which may be used to demonstrate particular techniques and to show examples of experimental results.

Live cell imaging involves tagging specific proteins, organelles, or cellular compartments with fluorescent labels. Movements of the fluorescent markers are then captured and recorded using sophisticated microscopes equipped with cameras or other advanced imaging devices. Because the cells are carefully maintained under optimal growing conditions, scientists can visualize and accurately assess changes in a cell's physiology, morphology, or behavior.

In the current CSH Protocols release, two articles that incorporate imaging technologies are freely available. One describes how to track the movement of RNA molecules in the nuclei of living mammalian cells. The other outlines appropriate equipment for live imaging in Drosophila, the fruit fly used as a model in genetic and developmental studies. Both articles will be useful for many scientists interested in dynamic, microscopic processes, as they are applicable to a variety of species and systems.

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ABOUT COLD SPRING HARBOR PROTOCOLS:
CSH Protocols (www.cshprotocols.org) is an online resource of methods used in a wide range of biology laboratories. It is structured as an interactive database, with each protocol cross-linked to related methods, descriptive information panels, and illustrative material to maximize the total information available to investigators. Each protocol is clearly presented and designed for easy use at the bench--complete with reagents, equipment, and recipe lists. Life science researchers can access the entire collection via institutional site licenses, and can add their suggestions and comments to further refine the techniques.

ABOUT COLD SPRING HARBOR LABORATORY PRESS:
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press is an internationally renowned publisher of books, journals, and electronic media located on Long Island, New York. It is a division of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, an innovator in life science research and the education of scientists, students, and the public. For more information, visit www.cshlpress.com.


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