The Beauty of Fluorescence
Probably not a very good title, because I love fluorescence very very much, and I find it beautiful very very often. But today I’m going to talk about my favorite dye. 4’,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole or DAPI (cute name, in french we have a song which goes “Pomme de reinette et pomme d’api”, but anyway), is a fluorescent stain which binds to DNA. Therefore it is used in fluorescence microscopy to stain nuclei. It is particularly useful when applying multicolor fluorescent techniques, because the range of greens, yellows and reds sometimes makes it hard to distinguish between cells. DAPI’s blue makes a nice contrast, so we can never get lost.
Did I tell also that it’s the most beautiful thing to see in a microscope ? Because it is, it really is. Sometimes I have to remind myself I’m not looking at Avatar’s version of the night sky.
Top : Matt Benton. Two day old cricket embryo that has been partially separated from its egg. (zoo.cam.ac.uk)
Bottom : Dr. Heath Mills, Texas A&M University. Unidentified DAPI stained microorganisms within sediments as seen through a confocal microscope. (National Geographic)
Agathe of Frontal Cortex