This post was contributed by guest bloggers Joachim Goedhart and Marieke Mastop from the Section of Molecular Cytology and Van Leeuwenhoek Centre for Advanced Microscopy, University of Amsterdam.
Before you decide which car you want to buy, it is worthwhile to test-drive a couple of candidates. Before you buy a new microscope, it is smart to look at (and through) a couple of models. Before you start a new project with fluorescent proteins, the best advice is to try a couple of promising variants to check how they perform under your experimental conditions. This is time well spent and, if you do it right, can be (part of) figure 1 of your next paper or thesis. This series of posts explains how to critically assess the reported properties of fluorescent proteins, how to do a head-to-head comparison of fluorescent proteins and how to make a well-informed decision on the best fluorescent protein for your application.