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The routine stain for tissue sections is the H and E (Hematoxylin and Eosin). This stain has stood the test of time for nearly the entire 20th century. Hematoxylin stains tissue a deep blue while eosin stains a deep red. Depending upon the tissue, all cells are composed of a nearly infinite combination of the various hues and shades of these two stains. Most cells have a reproducible staining pattern, regardless of the tissue. For example, cell nuclei usually are deeply blue (or basophilic); squamous cells, such as those comprising the skin, are usually red (or eosinophilic).

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