HPHS Media

Snail memory transplant

Back to Article
Back to Article

Snail memory transplant

Sarah Rogers, Staffer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The concept of being able to download and transplant memories into another sentient being just got a little less far-fetched. Researchers claim to have transferred memories between snails by injecting RNA from a trained snail into one that had not been trained. The recipient snail was then observed practicing the “learned” behavior.

The researchers, led by biologist David Glanzman of the University of California, Los Angeles, were hoping to understand something called the engram – a physical trace of memory storage.

The researchers administered five electric shocks to the training group of snails, one every 20 minutes. Then, 24 hours later, the researchers repeated the process. When researchers examined the snails afterwards, those who had received the shock training contracted their bodies into a defensive posture for an average of around 50 seconds. The snails that had not been trained only contracted for about one second.

It’s no coincidence that this breakthrough was conducted with the help of snails.

“Neurobiologists have been studying the machinations of snail brains for decades,” Glanzman said.

According to the researchers, the experiments show how essential parts of the memory trace, or engram, are held in RNA, rather than in the connectivity of brain cells as traditional neuroscience dictates.

Memory transfer and transplantation are fascinating to think about. But actually, the human applications are much more practical and helpful. 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.

“It is very beneficial for the success in the memory transplant, hopefully it will help in the medical world with curing disorders that work with the memory,” sophomore Claire Martinez said.

When questioned on whether this may lead to the possibility of a memory transplant in humans, however, Glanzman was uncertain.

The researchers see this result as a step towards alleviating the effects of diseases such as Alzheimer’s or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About the Writer
Sarah Rogers, Staffer

Current Grade Level:
9

What is your position on the Bagpipe:
Staffer

What is your go-to snack:
Cereal

What is your favorite tv show to binge...

Navigate Left
  • News

    Near future schools

  • News

    Learning how to learn

  • Snail memory transplant

    News

    EU’s war on memes

  • Snail memory transplant

    News

    E-cigarettes a threat to high schoolers

  • Snail memory transplant

    News

    Typhoon Jebi hits Japan

  • Snail memory transplant

    News

    Lights out

  • Snail memory transplant

    News

    Restricting screens

  • Snail memory transplant

    News

    Turning off red light cameras

  • Snail memory transplant

    News

    Hurricane Florence

  • Snail memory transplant

    News

    A growing discord

Navigate Right
Snail memory transplant