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Gorgeous Guts

Even the humble intestine can be made to look exquisite. In this cross-section of the guts of a 6-day old zebrafish larva, different parts of the tissue are colored according to what they do for the intestine. Cells that absorb nutrients, called enterocytes, appear bright magenta. Their nuclei are stained blue, and the yellow spots show the locations of cellular structures that take apart unnecessary or dysfunctional components of the cell. Graduate student Ted Espenschied and his colleagues in John Rawls' lab at Duke are studying the zebrafish gut in hopes of unraveling the workings of our own innards.