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Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition 2022 Impressive Feet

06 February 2023

Impressive Feet

Often capturing a picture is about patience and preparation. This embryonic foot from a Madagascar giant day gecko (Phelsuma grandis) was first ‘cleared’, using chemicals to sluice away opaque molecules, leaving its delicate early tissues behind. Captured on a high-powered microscope, hundreds of high-resolution images are stitched together. The final image reveals chemical stains highlighting the gecko’s early nerves (blue) and other tissues including bone and skin in warmer colours. Geckos are still revealing their secrets to developmental biologists fascinated by the ability to regenerate limbs after amputation. Comparing the steps of this impressive feat to human healing may lead to fresh approaches to dealing with spinal injury. Elsewhere engineers are also taking inspiration from the gecko’s foot – creating sticky robots than can grip onto wet surfaces like those in and around the human body.

Written by John Ankers

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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