Friday, 17 August, 2018

Scientists found a way to transfer memories between animals

WIKIMEDIA GENNY ANDERSON WIKIMEDIA GENNY ANDERSON
Anna Jefferson | 15 May, 2018, 13:10

Now, biologists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have pulled off something similar - at least on a gastropod level - by effectively transferring a memory from a trained snail into the mind of an untrained one.

The "memory transplant" was achieved through ribonucleic acid (RNA) injections and provides new tantalizing clues regarding the memory trace - also known as an engram, the presumed physical substrate of memory.

Study coauthor David Glanzman of the University of California, Los Angeles, has been working on the cell biology of learning and memory for almost 40 years, and says for the majority of that time he believed memory was stored at synapses.

For this goal, the injection of specific ribonucleic acids.

At the point when a marine snail is given electric tail stuns, its tangible neurons turn out to be more edgy. By repeatedly shocking the snail's tail, the animal learns to stay in that defensive position when touched on the siphon, even weeks after the shocks end.

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. Those that had not been given the shocks contracted for only about one second. They found that the injected sea snails replicated the same sensitivity as of the donor.

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And when the RNA was injected in an untrained sea snail, it immediately responded to the shock in the same way.

DNA methylation appeared to be essential for the transfer of the memory among snails.

The researchers then injected the RNA from the group of snails who had been shocked into the group which hadn't. Experimental creatures became sea snail. RNA from shocked snails also enhanced a subset of synapses between sensory and motor neurons in vitro, suggesting it was indeed the RNA that transported the memory, Glanzman explains. And of course, the unshocked snail RNA had no effect on neurons at all.

In a study published today in the journal eNeuro, the UCLA team argues that these results refute the general consensus that long-term memory is stored in the brain synapses that connect cerebral cells. Instead, Glanzman believes they may be storied in the nuclei of neurons, a theory that needs more study to be definitively shown.

"In the event that recollections were put away at neural connections, it is extremely unlikely our examination would have worked", said Glanzman, who included that the marine snail is a magnificent model for concentrate the cerebrum and memory.

The researchers said that the cells and molecular processes in the marine snails are similar to those in humans, despite the fact that the snail has about 20,000 neurons in its central nervous system and humans are thought to have about 100 billion.

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