Automotive Product Preserves Ctenophores for Study - Martindale Lab Discovery Published in Frontiers in Zoology
Published: Monday, June 28, 2021
Congratulations to Dorothy Mitchell, Dr. Allison Edgar and Dr. Mark Q. Martindale who recently published a paper in Frontiers in Zoology entitled ‘Improved histological fixation of gelatinous marine invertebrates'.
Many marine animals are difficult to preserve for study; ctenophores are one group of fragile, gelatinous zooplankton in this category. However, these delicate animals can give us precious insights about life’s history, regeneration, and other important biological phenomena, and have been an important study organism for biologists for hundreds of years, so finding ways to preserve these samples is crucial.
Preservation (or “fixation”) of these tissues allows them to be labeled to identify the spatial localization of RNAs, proteins, and other molecules of interest. Here, they discovered that the commercial product used to treat automotive glass (Rain-X®) allows for thorough tissue fixation and morphological preservation of ctenophore and other delicate specimens.
They focused on the application of this technique to the lobate ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi and demonstrated several techniques including in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry, nucleic acid extraction, and long-term storage. They encourage others to apply these techniques to other understudied gelatinous animals and hope that it will allow novel molecular insights into animals not preserved by traditional methods.