Scientists implant memories in mice
Researchers have trained mice to ‘remember’ a painful experience in a different context from that in which the experience actually occurred.
Mice were placed in a chamber where they received foot shot shocks. The mice associated the shocks with the chamber and developed a fear. Then researchers placed the mice in a different chamber and shone a blue light on the genetically engineered light sensitive neurons in the brain of the mice. The blue light on the cells encoded the foot-shock memory and mice reacted fearfully as they did in the first chamber.
Researchers succeeded in their goal of implanting a false memory on the mice.
”Memory comes from experience,” Tonegawa told LiveScience. But in this case, the animal never experienced any fear in the first chamber, and yet the animal was fearful of that chamber, he said.
…The findings provide a model for how false memories might be formed in humans. Before the advent of DNA testing, many criminals were convicted primarily on the basis of eyewitness testimony. When their DNA was tested later, “three out of four people imprisoned for many years based primarily on witness recall turned out be innocent,” Tonegawa said.
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