WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A research team from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) found a way to transfer memories from one animal to another.
- Marine snails were used for the experiment because they are believed to share some structural similarities with humans.
- The research findings showcased the use of RNA from two different sea animals to potentially regain lost memories.
UCLA researchers were able to find a way to transfer memories from a group of marine snails to another group using RNA . The scientific journal eNeuro published the team’s work on May 14.
RNA has the ability to transfer information acquired from the DNA to other cells and is also believed to help in cell development and immunity.
Senior study author and UCLA professor Dr. David Glanzman, along with his team, used the Aplysia species of marine snails for this study. The marine snail was seen as an excellent model for studying memories and the brain, since neuroscientists know the animal’s brain in detail.
The first part of the experiment involved giving a series of minor electric shocks, in several sets, to several of the Aplysia marine snails. During the first round, the snails received one set every 20 minutes, while another round was started 24 hours later.
The snail which received electric shocks experienced a small muscle contraction lasting 50 seconds.
The team took out RNA from a shocked marine snail, and from another marine snail of the same species which did not receive any electrical shocks. RNA from the shocked marine snail was then inserted into a group of seven snails who did not experience electric shocks, while the other snail’s RNA was inserted into another group.
The seven marine snails who received the shocked marine snail’s RNA experienced the same muscle contraction, but only for 40 seconds.
The team then removed a sample from the shocked marine snail to take a closer look at the reaction through a petri dish; the snail neutrons reacted wildly. Meanwhile, a sample from a non-shocked snail exhibited shorter and less intense reactions.
The findings made the team believe that the marine snail’s molecular and cell structure are very similar to humans’, despite the difference in neurons. Humans are believed to have over 100 billion neurons, while marine snails only have over 20,000 neurons.
The team believes that the experiment could help improve measures of dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and even Alzheimer’s.
Source: Tech Times