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RNA injected from one sea slug into another may transfer memories

The controversial finding suggests that RNA molecules help set up future recollections

By
1:49pm, May 14, 2018
sea slug

MEMORY LANE  Placing RNA from one sea slug into another appeared to transfer a simple version of a memory, a controversial study finds.

Sluggish memories might be captured via RNA. The molecule, when taken from one sea slug and injected into another, appeared to transfer a rudimentary memory between the two, a new study suggests.

Most neuroscientists believe long-term memories are stored by strengthening connections between nerve cells in the brain (SN: 2/3/18, p. 22). But these results, reported May 14 in eNeuro, buoy a competing argument: that some types of RNA molecules, and not linkages between nerve cells, are key to long-term memory storage.

“It’s a very controversial idea,” admits study coauthor David Glanzman, a neuroscientist at UCLA.

When poked or prodded, some sea slugs (Aplysia californica) will reflexively pull their siphon, a water-filtering appendage, into their bodies. Using

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