The toroidal magnetic chamber (Tokamak) of the Joint European Torus (JET) at the Culham Science Centre. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images The toroidal magnetic chamber (Tokamak) of the Joint European Torus (JET) at the Culham Science Centre. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Genetically engineered 'Magneto' protein remotely controls brain and behaviour

 “Badass” new method uses a magnetised protein to activate brain cells rapidly, reversibly, and non-invasively

Researchers in the United States have developed a new method for controlling the brain circuits associated with complex animal behaviours, using genetic engineering to create a magnetised protein that activates specific groups of nerve cells from a distance.

Understanding how the brain generates behaviour is one of the ultimate goals of neuroscience – and one of its most difficult questions. In recent years, researchers have developed a number of methods that enable them to remotely control specified groups of neurons and to probe the workings of neuronal circuits.

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By Moheb Costandi / Contributor

Moheb Costandi trained as a developmental neurobiologist and now works as a freelance writer. His work has appeared in Nature, New Scientist, Science, and Scientific American, among other publications. He also writes the Neurophilosophy blog, hosted by the Guardian, and his first book, 50 Human Brain Ideas You Really Need to Know, was published in 2013. 

@mocost

(Source: theguardian.com; March 25, 2021; https://tinyurl.com/yevtmxdv)
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