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