Thanks to my complimentary subscription* to the print magazine Biophotonics International, I read with interest the article by Richard Gaughan intitled “Small Animals, Big Promise”, which gives an introductory showcase to some imaging modalities in living mice. There was a box in which experts in the field gives some hints to researchers committed/concerned to incorporate small-imaging workstations into their research protocols, and I agree that:
new users often don't appreciate that in vivo imaging is generally on the macroscopic scale, while they are used to think in terms of what they can look at with a confocal microscope.
In my opinion, given the complementary nature of such different approaches, the compelling advantage to allow longitudinal studies on thath macroscopic “blobby” resolution of the anatomical projections of different organs, may help to define if (and eventually when) proceed to a tissue biopsy to get more on the microscopic scale. This will also help to minimize animal use. Accordingly to this vision, I've recently seen on my free* print-copy of Nature Methods, an advertisement of new solutions for bioluminescence microscopy. To date, not only GFP-, but also luciferase-harboring mice may be imaged at each resolution.
* you can qualify for free-subscriptions to Biophotonics International and Nature Methods, here.