Over the past century, our understanding of cells—the basic building blocks of living organisms—has progressed largely due to microscopes. The invention of fluorescence microscopy has been a primary tool in this scientific endeavor because it allows researchers to color-label specific cellular components and observe them in live cells. The new two-color 3-D Minflux microscope is a vast improvement on traditional fluorescence microscopy because, for the first time, researchers can track how two molecules can interact with each other on the size scale of the molecules themselves.
In a paper published in PLoS ONE, scientists at the University of Illinois released their findings on what microscopy techniques are needed to identify the shape and texture of pollen grains. Understanding pollen morphology is important to classifying ancient vegetation.
Because pollen morphologies often align quite closely to taxonomic groupings, understanding the appearance of ancient pollen allows scientists to better understand prehistoric flora in the context of modern-day ancestors.