The invention of histologic staining.

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Histologic staining is the artificial colouration of a substance to facilitate examination of tissues, microorganisms or other cells under the microscope[1].


The Italian physician Alfonso Giacomo Gaspare Corti invented[2] the process of histologic staining in 1851 while trying to observe the vestibulocochlear nerves of the cochlea (part of the inner ear involved in hearing) in their fresh state. He first preserved them for a few hours in a saturated solution of sodium chloride and then stained them with carmine (a reddish pigment) which then allowed him to see the sheaths of the nerves with clarity. Here is a photomicrograph[3] of a flatworm (Pseudorhabdosynochus morrhua) stained with carmine:

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Here is a portrait[4] of Alfonso Corti:

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  1. staining
  2. ?ref=oI, pages 22-23.
  3. morrhua
  4. ImagesUrl=/indexplus/image/L0015264.html