How to "take over" a brainQuicklink submitted by Kyle McDermott Permalink
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|The heritage of optogenetics goes way back to 1979, when Nobel Laureate Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA with James Watson and Rosalind Franklin, suggested that neuroscientists should seek to learn how to take control of specific cells in the brain. Imagine being able to turn the neurons in an animal's brain on and off from the outside. Sounds like you'd be turning the creature into a robot, sounds like science fiction. Right? Well, flash forward thirty-some years, and guess what, optogenetics is a reality! Here's how it works... roughly. An obvious approach would be to stick a tiny electrode into an animal's brain and stimulate the cells using electricity. Optogenetics involves inserting fiber-optics tools into an animal's brain, in order to control the target neurons using pulses of light as a trigger.|
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