Scientists Transformed Timid Lab Mice to Bloodthirsty Killers Using Optogenetics
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Scientists Transformed Timid Lab Mice to Bloodthirsty Killers Using Optogenetics

Optogenetics – you mightn’t have heard about this light unless you are a deep science enthusiastic. Optogenetics is a particular type of laser light which is created by combining genetics and optics, in order to control specific events inside definite cells of living tissue. But by using this light, a team of scientists has made a surprising development, which may make you reminding of a sci-fi horror flick. By using lasers, the scientists have turned some timid lab mice into homicidal killers.

It may seem you like the story of a cheap horror movie, but it is fact. A team of researchers from the Yale University has transformed some of the shy lab rats into the highly efficient killers. They used the technique called ‘Optogenetics’ to manipulate the neurons by employing the laser light and making the feathery critters go all wreck on their quarry.

When the light was switched off, the rats were mostly cool and somehow even shy. They were also rushing in the region of their cages to pass up prey or model intended to resemble victim. But when the scientists switch on Optogenetics light, things started getting hideous and soon after, the shy and timid mice turned into bloodthirsty killers. After coming across the laser light, the rats started attacking and beheading the plastic toys inside the cage. The toys, which gave shapes like prey, were attacked with powerful bites in a more lethal manner.

In the study, published in the journal ‘Cell’ on Thursday, Ivan de Araujo, the co-author of the study said, “We were not attempting to develop any monster, rather we were trying to understand the brain factors and settle on the question ‘how large brain networks function’. Taking the statement further, Araujo said, “Our discoveries entail the central amygdala as a modular control system of the brain. It plays a pivotal role in forming the brain and converting it.”

The study was conducted by Ivan de Araujo, an associate professor of psychiatry and physiology at Yale University, and his co-authors, Wenfei Han, from Yale and Newton Canteras, a neurobiologist at the University of Sao Paulo.

The co-author of the study highlights that “the cells of the brain also control the strength of jaw.” Because when certain neurons of the mice were damaged, the strength of their bites significantly dropped.”