Snails can teach us a great deal about how we form memories, according to a group of neuroscientists at the University of Sussex.
Research by Dr Ildikó Kemenes, Professor Paul Benjamin, Professor Michael O’Shea and colleagues shows that nitric oxide plays a vital role in the formation of long-term memory in snails. This is of crucial importance because the gas has already been shown to play such a role in humans and other mammals.
Ideally, scientists would like to use mammals to study the mechanism of memory formation, but mammalian brains are too complex. So, instead, they have to study animals with simpler brains. Snails are an ideal choice because they have unusually large neurons (nerve cells). But, until now no one had conclusively shown that nitric oxide plays a role in the formation of long-term memory in snails.
Alison Field | alphagalileo
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