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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A novel method for in situ fixation of whale brains.

A new method of in situ formalin fixation was used on 38 brains from minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata). The method was developed because traditional ways of fixing brains are poorly suited to the collection of whale brains. The whole brain was preserved uncut in its meninges and then excised undamaged from the skull at a later opportunity. There was no handling of the brain in the fresh state. Fixation was started within a couple of hours post mortem. All brains were subjected to gross and light microscopy examination. The results showed that both the gross and microscopic architecture of the brains were adequately preserved, with no massive gross or histological changes due to insufficient fixation apparent. The occurrence of fixation artifacts was low. Microscopic examination showed well-preserved cells and myelin in all parts of the brain. We report the mean fixed weight of the minke whale brain as 2741 g, which is the lowest among the baleen whales. The cerebellum constituted 22% of the total brain weight, which conforms to findings in other baleen whales. This in situ method can probably be used without any particular modifications in other whale species and also in large terrestrial mammals.[1]


  1. A novel method for in situ fixation of whale brains. Knudsen, S.K., Mørk, S., Øen, E.O. J. Neurosci. Methods (2002) [Pubmed]
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