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July 31, 2014

Researchers in California have created transparent mice, which enable scientists to get an extraordinary view of the body and brain in great detail.

In a study published Thursday in the journal Cell, the author's discuss how they made the mice, which are dead and used entirely for research. Usually, scientists studying organs on a microscopic scale dissect and slice, which can take a long time and isn't always accurate, since the slices can be put together incorrectly and cells can be lost. As New Scientist reports, if organs are see-through then cells and connections can be viewed in their original locations, making it easier for researchers. However, lipids block light from going through the organ tissue, and cannot be removed because without lipids, organ tissue will collapse.

Studying research done at Stanford University in April that allowed a team to turn a mouse brain transparent, a team at the California Institute of Technology first euthanized a mouse, then removed its skin. Detergent was put into the mouse through its circulatory system, and although the lipids were dissolved there wasn't any tissue damage. Large bones that were blocking cells were taken out of the mouse, and fluorescent chemicals were put in to highlight specific cells. It takes about one week to turn a mouse transparent.

Viviana Gradinaru of the California Institute of Technology said her team is already working on mapping the nervous system. "There are instances where electrical stimulation is used to help treat Parkinson's, bladder control or pain and those electrical stimulators are applied to nerves throughout the body," she told New Scientist. "Knowing exactly where those nerves run to and from, and their functions, would improve those treatments." The researchers have also used the method on human tissue. "We've cleared biopsies from skin cancer to identify what kind of cells are present," Gradinaru said. Catherine Garcia

2:28 p.m. ET
JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images

Chris Froome won the Tour de France on Sunday, becoming the first Briton to win the race three times. After 89 hours, six minutes, and one second in the saddle over the race's 21 stages, Froome, 31, crossed the finish line in Paris almost three minutes before his closest rival. He won in 2015 and in 2013, and is only the eighth man to three Tours under his belt. Jessica Hullinger

10:39 a.m. ET
NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee said Sunday that it will not completely ban Russia from competing at the Rio Olympics, Reuters reports. Instead, the IOC is putting the responsibility of deciding who can compete in the Games on the bodies that govern the individual sports.

The announcement comes after an independent report found evidence of widespread state-sponsored doping among Russian Olympic athletes. Competitors will need to meet a set of criteria to demonstrate they are clean, and anyone who has previously been caught doping will not be allowed to compete. Jessica Hullinger

9:09 a.m. ET
Johannes Simon/Getty Images

German authorities say the gunman who opened fire at a Munich shopping center on Friday, killing 9 people and injuring 35 more, planned the attack for a year. On Sunday, Robert Heimberger, president of the Bavarian state criminal police office, said 18-year-old David Sonboly left a manifesto on his computer. "He appears to have planned this act since last summer," Heimberger said. "He completely occupied himself with this act of rampage."

In planning his attack, Sonboly, who authorities say was "obsessed" with mass shootings, visited the site of a previous school shooting and took pictures, The Associated Press reports. In 2015, Sonboly spent two months as an inpatient at a mental care facility, where he was treated for depression and a fear of contact with other people. He killed himself after the attack. Jessica Hullinger

7:49 a.m. ET

On Sunday morning, Donald Trump, or whoever was running his Twitter feed, went on a rampage against Hillary Clinton's decision to pick Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) as her vice presidential nominee. Embedded amongst a flurry of exclamation points and all-caps accusations of "BAD JUDGMENT" was an error that's sure to needle grammar snobs: Where Trump should have used "their," he used "there" instead. And in the same breath — er, keystroke — instead of "waste," he used "waist."

Cringe!

Then again, what more do we expect from a presidential candidate who researchers say has the grammatical sophistication of an 11-year-old?

Update at 8:20 a.m.: The above tweet has been deleted and replaced with a corrected version. Jessica Hullinger

7:24 a.m. ET

I know, I know. You miss Game of Thrones. And the recent news that season seven won't air until summer 2017 is probably only adding to your despair. But if you need a quick fix, this is it: HBO released a blooper reel from season six, and it is delightful. Let it be known: Dothraki is hard, but the word 'benevolent' is even harder. Watch below. Jessica Hullinger

6:51 a.m. ET
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Mary Commanday, the mother of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who was killed in the 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, has asked that the Donald Trump presidential campaign stop referencing her son in attacks on Hillary Clinton. In a letter to The New York Times, Commanday wrote, "I know for certain that Chris would not have wanted his name or memory used in that connection. I hope that there will be an immediate and permanent stop to this opportunistic and cynical use by the campaign." Clinton was secretary of state at the time of the attacks, which featured prominently at the Republican National Convention last week in speeches criticizing Clinton's leadership skills. Jessica Hullinger

6:34 a.m. ET
JUSTIN SAGLIO/AFP/Getty Images

The chief financial officer of the Democratic National Committee, Brad Marshall, apologized on Saturday after emails leaked by WikiLeaks showed the DNC had planned to attack Bernie Sanders on his religion. The emails did not mention Sanders, who is Jewish, by name, but said, "Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist."

In a Facebook post, Marshall said, "I deeply regret that my insensitive, emotional emails would cause embarrassment to the DNC, the Chairwoman, and all of the staffers who worked hard to make the primary a fair and open process. The comments expressed do not reflect my beliefs nor do they reflect the beliefs of the DNC and its employees. I apologize to those I offended." Jessica Hullinger

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