Making a worm do more than squirm

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

By Laura Sanders, 17:40 PM January 14, 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, name...

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