Thursday, December 13, 2007

Feargene Revealed

Breakthrough in science! They have found out that rodents have a gene that causes them to fear felines!

Give me that cat used in those tests and I can also foretell the past from its intestines!

The reason Professor Sakano's findings were important, he said, was that
the fearless mouse showed that the two nerve circuits in the olfactory bulb –
the learnt and the innate – are quite separate from one another.

Professor Sakano has probably never heard of a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii...
Prof. Sakano has also probably never heard of Bayer or any other medicine company...

It is common use in animal testing when they are testing for example relaxants on mice to get them first agitated. How do they do that? They whisk little bit of feline urine in front of them and they panic. How does a lab rat who's great-great-great-grandparents have not seen a cat in their lives get scared of a tiny bit of feline urine? I don't think there's any mouse schools where they teach every mouse the dangers of cats.

Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite, and can be found in humans too. It thrives in the intestines of felines, and if it gets inside a rodent, it alters it's brain. After Toxoplasma gondii infestation in a rodent, it will no longer fear the smell of feline. The reason is simple: The mouse doesn't fear cats, and gets more easily eaten by one, thus giving the parasite a free passage to intestines it so loves. You don't need to be Richard Dawkins to figure out that maybe the fear is not learned, but actually in-built...

So basically the scientists managed to isolate and remove the same gene Toxoplasma gondii alters, but want to take the whole credit for themselves. I don't say this is not a great invention, as we learn more about the brain this way and we can duplicate what nature has done for a long time. Only the fact that this was presented as something new, never-heard-before thing.

I know gunpowder was invented in China, but we can always invent some more of it.

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