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Researchers Demonstrate Nanoscale X-Ray Imaging of Bacterial Cells

An ultra-high-resolution imaging technique using X-ray diffraction is a step closer to fulfilling its promise as a window on nanometer-scale structures in biological samples. In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers report progress in applying an approach to "lensless" X-ray microscopy that they introduced one year ago.

They have produced the first images, using this technique, of biological cells -- specifically the intriguing polyextremophile Deinococcus radiodurans.

Better ability to see nanoscale structures in cells could yield important insights for evolutionary biology and biotechnology. In the case of D. radiodurans, for example, it could help to settle questions about whether -- or how -- the structure of this organism's DNA-bearing nucleoid region accounts for its hardiness against ionizing radiation. Having demonstrated the resolution, reliability, and reproducibility of their technique, the researchers are now working to extend it to three-dimensional imaging of biological cells.
 
 

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