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Scientists turn mice in to zombie killers

Posted on Friday, 13 January, 2017 | Comment icon 12 comments

The mice could be commanded to attack small targets. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Rama
The mind-controlled rodents could be commanded to hunt down and kill a target using simple light flashes.
The experiment, which was designed to unravel the inner workings of the animals' predatory instinct, involved manipulating certain areas of the brain to make it possible for scientists to enable and disable their drive to hunt and kill prey on demand.

This was achieved by injecting a specific region of the brain with an infectious virus containing a light-sensitive gene which made it possible to control groups of neurons by firing laser light through optic-fiber tubing inserted in to the animals' heads.

The procedure made it possible to turn the mice in to lethal hunters at the flick of a switch.
"We'd turn the laser on and they'd jump on an object, hold it with their paws and intensively bite it as if they were trying to capture and kill it," said psychiatry researcher Ivan de Araujo.

The behavior of the mice however was limited in that they could only hunt small targets.

"It had to be something that could be grabbed and contained, something they want to capture and subdue," said Araujo. "It's not that they got out of control and tried to kill everything."

With any luck that won't be set to change anytime soon.

Source: Gizmodo | Comments (12)

Tags: Mice, Zombie

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by Lucas Cooper Merrin on 13 January, 2017, 17:25
I demand to see the same thing done with a bear or a wolverine! Then I'll raise my glass..........bloody angry mice!
Comment icon #4 Posted by MWoo7 on 13 January, 2017, 17:36
That is hilarious, (okay quote tool ... ) It mentioned that in the past researchers thought amygdala was all about defensive or submissive. Curious I thought that was the beastly prehistoric like part of the brain, oh well one can't remember everything. YEah sadly another joke. Yeah worked with grants a bit, some amazing things AND! I learned HA! one is not required to voice opinions or save money. Oops almost forgot, love the article by the way thanks Claire. now with a period on the end, anything to do with the brain holy crappolla EXCELLENT !
Comment icon #5 Posted by Grandpa Greenman on 13 January, 2017, 17:55
Oh joy, I guess the next step is to make it work on humans.  I could see a lot of applications for something like this to do good things for mental illness. . It depends on how you wield such power like this. In the hands of military types it could become a nightmare scenario. 
Comment icon #6 Posted by Stiff on 13 January, 2017, 18:00
You beat me to it Grandpa Greenman, except I couldn't help but think that the military angle was the ultimate goal from the outset. Or is that just my pessimism creeping in?
Comment icon #7 Posted by Grandpa Greenman on 13 January, 2017, 18:51
If you know anything about the history of humanity, you have good reason for your pessimism.   Welcome to UM.  
Comment icon #8 Posted by Thorvir on 13 January, 2017, 18:53
Strapping frikkin' laser beams onto sharks does the same thing.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Parsec on 13 January, 2017, 22:16
First, in the home the title says "Scientists turn mice in to zombie killers"  and I thought "Cool! Even if they don't exist, now we have a weapon against those damn deadites!" Then I've read the article.   Gosh.  Not good.    Are we sure the lab is not located in Manchuria? 
Comment icon #10 Posted by MissJatti on 15 January, 2017, 9:54
MZA - mice zombie apocalypse 
Comment icon #11 Posted by gatekeeper32 on 17 January, 2017, 13:57
The apocalypse begins.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Peter B on 17 January, 2017, 15:21
Yes, improving our understanding of how brains work is going to help improve medical treatments. But I wouldn't worry too much about military use of such knowledge - all knowledge, no matter how seemingly benign, can be misused by those with an unpleasant agenda.

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