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Chapter 5 : The Age of Imaging
Not so long ago, it would have seemed implausible that biology would return to its origins as a visual science. Some would have considered this a regression to the days when biologists were pretty much confined to studying just what they could see, such as the shapes of organisms and their tissues. Back then, they focused on refining what Pliny had observed with his bare eyes, what Hooke and Leeuwenhoek saw under the microscope. The methodological lines of attack were dramatically redirected from the visual by the revolutionary discoveries of the second half of the last century. Biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology—none of them relied primarily on visualizing the structure of objects. For some time, doing morphology was suspect and, in some quarters, even using a microscope was equated with doing old-fashioned science.