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      CommentAuthorEvan W Smith
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2009 edited
    Laser creates 'false memories' in fly brains

    A flash of laser light can alter the brains of fruit flies so that they learn to fear pain that they never actually felt.

    Gero Miesenböck at the University of Oxford and his colleagues genetically engineered fruit flies so that a handful of their nerve cells fired when lit up with a laser.

    This allowed them to write false pain "memories" into the fruit flies' brains. "These memories cause a lasting modification of the flies' behaviour," says Miesenböck

    It is known that the release of dopamine by neurons in the "mushroom body" – part of the fruit fly brain – is critical to learning. But it was not known whether behaviour can be conditioned by stimulating these neurons directly, without the fly having any real experience...

    Rest of the story here.

    I wonder what positive technology this might lead to down the road, other than messed up vacations on Mars. Thoughts?
  1.  (7047.2)
    Next step: three-breasted hookers.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2009
    Google "triceratits". It's been done. And badly.
  2.  (7047.4)
    Ren- UUUGH. Why did I google that?whhyy?
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2009
    Ugh. If it's so bad that it throws Roo's spelling off, I'm not having it.

    With regard to the OP, isn't it a little like rewriting a computer program to give it the results you want? That is, they had to hack the genes of the flies to produce their outcome. The headline is pretty misleading in that respect; the laser wasn't the cause so much as the genetic manipulation. In any case, I would imagine the slippery slope to Rekall is pretty beyond genetically-engineering fruit flies to avoid a laser beam.

    That's not to say the project is any less interesting, of course. I'm always a fan of lasers and genetics. And, to a lesser extent, fruit flies.
      CommentAuthorEvan W Smith
    • CommentTimeOct 25th 2009 edited

    You're probably right, it's not exactly like they'll jump from flies to humans within the next few months and have an army of Wolverine-esque mercenaries running around. But apparently it's not the only research being done into creating false memories.
      CommentAuthorCameron C.
    • CommentTimeOct 25th 2009
    Am I the only one that googled that and enjoyed it?!
    • CommentAuthorRedwynd
    • CommentTimeOct 26th 2009