Scientists Successfully Transmits ‘Memories’ To 14 Marine Snails


A University of California at Los Angeles research team has found a way to transfer memories from one animal to another.

RNA Interventions

On May 14, scientific journal eNeuro published the team's work that showcased how using RNA from two different sea animals could potentially regain lost memories. RNA can transfer information that it acquired from DNA to other cells. It is also believed that RNA could help adjust cells in several processes such as development and warding off diseases.

A Marine Snail Tale

Dr. David Glanzman, the study's senior author and a UCLA professor, and his team decided to use the Aplysia species of marine snails for this study. Glanzman told Tech Times that the marine snail was an excellent model to study the brain and memories because neuroscientists know the animal's brain in detail.

For the first part of the experiment, Glanzman and his team gave several of the Aplysia marine snails a series of minor electric shocks in several sets. The first set involved the snails receiving one set every 20 minutes, while they would receive another round 24 hours later.

The scientists learned that the snail that received the electric shocks experienced a small muscle shrinking that lasted 50 seconds. There was another marine snail of the same species that did not receive any electrical shocks.

The Experiment's Findings

Glanzman and his team took out RNA from both of the shocked marine snail and from the marine snail that was left alone. They inserted the shocked marine snail's RNA into a group of seven snails who did not experience the electric shocks and the other snail's RNA into another group. The scientists discovered that the seven marine snails who did receive the RNA of the shocked marine snail had the same contraction, but it only lasted for 40 seconds.

The group next decided to take a closer look at the reaction through a petri dish. The team removed a sample of the marine snail that received electric shocks; they noticed that the snail neutrons reacted wildly. However, when the research team put in a sample from a non-trained snail in a petri dish, they realized that the reactions were shorter and less intense.

Humans And Snails

In his findings, Glanzman and his team believed that the marine snail and humans' molecular and cell structure to be very similar despite the difference in neurons. Marine snails have over 20,000 neurons in its central nervous system, while it is believed that humans have over 100 billion neurons. Glanzman and his team believe that this experiment could lead to improving measures to deal with Alzheimer's and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Animal Corner

On May 11, a Cuban tree frog was responsible for a power outage when it encountered high-voltage electric equipment in Florida. While powerful electric shock killed the frog, over 800 Kissimmee Utility Authority customers lost power for an hour and 20 minutes. The Cuban tree frogs have been known to overpower various animals and lift them into their mouths including spiders, lizards, and crustaceans.

On May 1, China's Public Security Department found a video of a tourist carrying a dying dolphin on his shoulder and hauled it away in his car. The man received backlash on Chinese social media for his actions and authorities promised that the tourist would face proper consequences once he was identified. While the dolphin species was not determined, all dolphin species are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

A group of marine biologists, who explored the surface below the Gulf of Mexico for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, discovered a mysterious creature. One of the crew members mentioned that it looked like a vampire squid. The crew had a hard time identifying the animal had two pairs of horns on its head and stumpy arms. However, one of the team members thought the creature could be part of the Disccoteuthis discus squid species.

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