Science & Technology
Scientists achieve 'memory transplant' in snails
May 15, 2018 | 6 comments
Where exactly are memories stored ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Grzegorz Polak
In a potentially groundbreaking experiment, memories were successfully transferred from one snail to another.
The study, which was published recently in the journal eNeuro, involved transferring a form of genetic information known as RNA (ribonucleic acid) from the nervous system of one snail to that of another.
The experiment sought to learn more about how memory exists within living organisms.
Before the transfer took place, the first group of snails were sensitized using electric shocks to exhibit a certain defensive reaction. After the transfer, the recipient snails began to exhibit the same defensive reaction as though it was them that had been trained in the first place.
"These are marine snails and when they are alarmed they release a beautiful purple ink to hide themselves from predators," said study co-author Prof David Glanzman.
"So these snails are alarmed and release ink, but they aren't physically damaged by the shocks."
Previous studies had suggested that long-term memories are stored in the brain's synapses, however the results of this experiment seem to have called this idea in to question.
"If memories were stored at synapses, there is no way our experiment would have worked," said Glanzman.
Source: BBC News
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