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    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Memories could be stored in neuron's nucleus rather than in the synapses

    If this is true it is potentially a Nobel-winning discovery.

    BBC News: 'Memory transplant' achieved in snails

    "A team successfully transplanted memories by transferring a form of genetic information called RNA from one snail into another.

    The snails were trained to develop a defensive reaction.

    When the RNA was inserted into snails that had not undergone this process, they behaved just as if they had been sensitised.

    The research, published in the journal eNeuro, could provide new clues in the search for the physical basis of memory.

    RNA stands for ribonucleic acid; it's a large molecule involved in various essential roles within biological organisms - including the assembly of proteins and the way that genes are expressed more generally.

    The scientists gave mild electric shocks to the tails of a species of marine snail called Aplysia californica. After these shocks were administered. the snail's defensive withdrawal reflex - where the snails contract in order to protect themselves from harm.

    When the researchers subsequently tapped the snails, they found those that had been given the shocks displayed a defensive contraction lasting about 50 seconds, while those that had not received the shocks contracted for only about one second.

    The shocked snails had been "sensitised" to the stimulus.

    Scientists extracted RNA from the nervous systems of the snails that received the shocks and injected it into a small number of marine snails that had not been sensitised in this way.

    The non-sensitised snails injected with the RNA from the shocked animals behaved as if they had themselves received the tail shocks, displaying a defensive contraction of about 40 seconds.

    They saw a similar effect when they did the same thing to sensory nerve cells being studied in petri dishes.

    Prof David Glanzman, one of the authors, from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), said the result was "as though we transferred the memory".

    He also stressed that the snails did not get hurt: "These are marine snails and when they are alarmed they release a beautiful purple ink to hide themselves from predators. So these snails are alarmed and release ink, but they aren't physically damaged by the shocks," he said.

    Traditionally, long-term memories were thought to be stored at the brain's synapses, the junctions between nerve cells. Each neuron has several thousand synapses.

    But Prof Glanzman said: "If memories were stored at synapses, there is no way our experiment would have worked."

    The UCLA professor of integrative biology holds a different view, believing that memories are stored in the nuclei of neurons. The paper might support hints from studies conducted decades ago that RNA was involved in memory.

    The type of RNA relevant to these findings is believed to regulate a variety functions in the cell involved with the development and disease.

    Mind-blowing, isn't it? I wonder why that piece of news was concealed deep into the science section and not in the Headlines? If RNA really regulates memory formation and memories are stored in the cell nucleus (as DNA or RNA), that would be one of the biggest scientific discoveries since the double helix, the epigenome, antibiotics and electricity, to name just a few of the discoveries that altered and are going to alter humanity (and life on Earth) forever. It's shocking that the BBC and other mainstream news websites prefers to advertise news about petty local conflicts (e.g. war of religions in Israel/Palestine) instead of positive news that might affect the whole of humanity for generations.

    [START RANT]One of the things that disheartens me is not that humans are fighting and killing each others over religion (they have done it for millennia, nothing new here), but that humanity as a whole seems to be stuck in the 'petty conflict' and 'gossip' mentality of the Stone Age, as if Schadenfreude was a bigger source of joy and motivation for them than improving human condition. Why is it that in the Digital Age people are still mostly concerned with the same things as in prehistoric times? Well, its not everyone obviously, but a vast majority of the population. If it's not everyone, it means that it isn't part of the human condition and it can be changed. The feeling I have is that most people don't want to evolve. They like their news to be celebrity gossips, wars and accidents. Stone age behaviour.[/ END RANT about science news not making the headlines]
    Last edited by Maciamo; 15-05-18 at 12:22.
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