Mind-control device lets people alter genes in mice through power of thought
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: November 16th, 2014
Scientists have created a mind-control system that allows a person to alter the genes in a mouse through the power of thought. A person wearing the device could alter how much protein was made from a gene in the mouse. Volunteers found that they could turn the gene on or off in the mouse at will. The experiment could lead to the development of a radical new approach to the treatment of diseases. Martin Fussenegger, a bioengineer who leads the project at ETH Zurich said he hoped to see clinical trials in people with chronic pain or epilepsy in the next five years. Fusseneggers team describes a system that demonstrates the idea. The mouse was fitted with a small implant containing copper coils, a light-emitting diode (LED) and a tiny container of genetically modified cells. When the electromagnetic field switches on beneath the mouse, an electric current is induced in the implants coils which makes the LED shine. This light illuminates the cells which are designed to respond by switching on a particular gene, causing the cells to make a new protein which seeps out of the implants membrane. In the tests, the new protein ... allowed scientists to measure its levels ... while people wearing the headset changed their state of mind. In a series of follow-up experiments, volunteers wearing the headset could see when the LED came on, because the red light shone through the mouses skin. In time, they learned to control the light and so the gene simply by thinking.
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