Making a worm do more than squirm | Science News

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Making a worm do more than squirm

Scientists use a laser to manipulate nematode, learn about complicated behaviors

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1:06pm, January 16, 2011

View a video of a laser-controlled worm

Satirist Stephen Colbert envisions his “Colbert Nation” mentally marching in lockstep with his special brand of patriotism.  But scientists have done him one better, by creating tiny worm-bots completely under their control.

Rather than comedic persuasion, these scientists are using a dot of laser light. With it they can make a worm turn left, freeze or lay an egg. The researchers report their work online January 16 in Nature Methods.

The new system, named CoLBeRT for “Controlling Locomotion and Behavior in Real Time,” doesn’t just create a mindless zombie-worm, though. It gives scientists the abilit

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