US scientists achieve world's first memory transplant

US scientists achieve world's first memory transplant
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A group of scientist from the University of California (UCLA) have successfully transplanted memories from one snail to another. 

A form of genetic information called RNA ribonucleic acid, which influences the way genes are expressed, was inserted into snails during the experiment.

For the experiment, published in the journal Eneuro, scientists administered mild electric shocks to the tails of a group of marine snails.

The snails' reflex to retreat into their shells was more pronounced - the defensive withdrawal reflex lasting up to 50 seconds. The snails had been "sensitised" to the shock.

In comparison, snails tapped without electricity retreated for an average of 10 seconds. 

The researchers then injected the RNA from the group of snails who had been shocked into the group which hadn't. 

Professor David Glanzman, one of the authors from UCLA, told the BBC the result was "as though we transferred the memory".

After the injection, the non-sensitised snails had similar reactions to the snails which had been shocked - retreating within their shells for up to 40 seconds. 

Professor Glanzman stressed the marine snails were not hurt by the experiment, but they were alarmed. 

Researchers say the cells and molecular processes of snails are similar to that of humans.

They see this advancement as a step towards helping to get rid of the effects of diseases such as Alzheimer's or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).