What looks like the gossamer wings of a butterfly is actually the retina of a mouse, delicately snipped to lay flat and sparkling with fluorescent molecules. The image is from a research project investigating the promise of gene therapy for glaucoma. It was created at an advanced microscopy facility that develops technology for imaging across many scales, from whole organisms to cells to individual molecules.
The ability to obtain high-resolution imaging of tissue as large as whole mouse retinas was made possible by a technique called large-scale mosaic confocal microscopy, which was pioneered by the US National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research. The technique is similar to Google Earth in that it computationally stitches together many small, high-resolution images.
Read more at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.