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At 12:56 AM 07/02/02 -0800, "Joe Dees" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> >Sorry, this is an Urban myth kind of meme. Poor poor controls had the
> >flatworms following slime trails.
> >Shame too, because I once helped write a humor story about university
> >course content being broken down into such small pieces it could be taught
> >to flatworms.
> >Then knowledge in the form of ground up flatworms was fed--like liver pate
> >on crackers--to the students.
>How did the slime trails elevate?
Krister is correct in that the original theory that RNA is the code for
memory storage was eventually discredited after being viewed as an
If anyone's interested, I have a citation for the original article (I
don't have the article itself, but this comes from Schneider & Tarshis,
2/e, 1980, one of my old Physio. Psych textbooks ):
McConnell, JV. 1962. Memory transfer through cannibalism in planarians.
Journal of Neuropsychiatry 3 (Supplement no. 1): 542-548.
I like the notion that the slime track was responsible for the putative
"memory enhancement," but don't have a reference for it. Perhaps
Krister or another NG reader would?
Also, did they ever use a new T-maze for the memory test? Some might
argue that this presents different environmental cues and would confound
the results, but this could be easily controlled.
S&T mention (p.451) that Hartry's group (published in Science, see
below) used two groups of "donor" planaria: one group trained to avoid
shock, the other group was just randomly shocked. RNA from both donor
types produced the transfer effect in the recipient planaria, suggesting
that shock itself, rather than learning/memory, changed the performance.
Hartry, AL et al. 1964. Planaria: memory transfer through cannibalism
re-examined. Science 146: 274-275.
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