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Biologists 'transfer’ memory from one snail to another
David Glanzman holding a marine snail.

Research could lead to new ways to restore lost memories

Biologists at the University of California, Los Angeles, have used ribonucleic acid (RNA) to ‘transfer’ a memory from one marine snail to another.

The research is the first of its kind and it is hoped that it could lead to new ways to lessen the effects of Alzheimer’s disease or post-traumatic stress disorder.

When snails are tapped, they withdraw back into their shell. Using mild electric shocks, researchers were able to enhance this withdrawal reflex, which the snails use to protect themselves from potential harm.

The researchers then extracted RNA from the shocked snails and injected it into snails that had not been shocked. Incredibly, these snails behaved as if they had themselves received the shocks. They displayed a defensive contraction that lasted on average 40 seconds.

“It’s as though we transferred the memory,” said senior author David Glanzman.

RNA is an essential molecule for the production of protein and is understood to be important in the regulation of cellular processes involved in development and disease.

Glanzman believes that RNA could be used to awaken and restore memories that have gone dormant in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. He now wants to identify the specific kinds of RNA that can be used to transfer memories.

The study, RNA from trained aplysia can induce an epigenetic engram for long-term sensitization in untrained aplysia, is published in the journal eNeuro.

Image (C) Christelle Snow/UCLA

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New online dental resource for vets and horse owners

News Story 1
 The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) has launched a new online dental resource for vets and horse owners.

The veterinary section of the resource is aimed at primary practice equine vets who are performing dentals for clients as part of a routine care programme. Information includes 'how to perform a thorough oral exam,' guidelines for charting, and a list of BEVA equine vets with postgraduate qualifications in equine dentistry.

Free to BEVA members, the new resource is supported by a range of practical courses, veterinary CPD, workshops and webinars. To find out more visit the BEVA website 

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