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Sea Snail Memory Transfer

May 21, 2018

What if you could have someone else’s memories?



Sea snails share memories. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

What if you could remember something that happened to someone else? It may sound far-fetched, but in an effort to understand how long-term memories are formed, scientists have now transfered memories from one sea snail to another. UCLA neuroscientist David Glanzman thinks that when animals learn, molecules of RNA go through changes that affect gene expression in their brain cells.

DAVID GLANZMAN (University of California, Los Angeles):

We thought, maybe we can just train an animal, take out its RNA, inject it into a naive animal and it will look like it learned. And that’s what we found. 3


The study suggests that memories take shape inside brain cells, rather than at the connection between them. Glanzman’s team writes in eNeuro that the research could have implications for the treatment of disorders of the memory in humans, such as Alzheimer’s and PTSD. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard