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The Art in Science

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Lynn Kee, Graduate Student (Verhey Laboratory), Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan Medical School

These are images of the spinal cord of a Corn Snake (Pantherophis guttatus) embryo. These snakes actually feed on rats, not corn. The name Corn Snake arose because Southern farmers used to store corn in wooden bins; the corn attracted rats and the snakes were attracted to the rats.  Because they are easy to raise, do not bite and come in a variety of colors, Corn Snakes are becoming popular pets in the US. They are also becoming more popular as biological models for scientific research. Here, they were used to study bone formation in the embryo. In this preparation, the cartilage was stained by Alcian Blue and the bone was stained with Alizarin Red. This image was prepared at the 2011 Woods Hole Embryology Course.