Glowing Hearts

March 12, 2006

Cornell University researchers have developed genetically engineered mice that have a fluorescent molecule which glows when the heart contracts. The molecule, known as green fluorescent protein (GFP), is derived from bioluminescent jellyfish. It was incorporated into these mice so that the fluorescence is linked to the release of calcium by the muscle cells of the heart. Because the release of calcium is necessary to cause the rhythmic contraction of the heart, the investigators were able to view this process as different areas of the heart began to glow. Their studies have led to new information of embrylogic development of the heart.

There is a nice image from their study on Technovelgy (link below).


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