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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Snails on Speed
27 May 2010 7:01 pm
Talk about an oxymoron: A snail on speed. No, researchers weren't trying to make the gastropods slide faster—they were trying to improve their memories. When the great pond snail (Lymnaea stagnalis) wades into water low in oxygen, it extends a special breathing tube to the surface. A team of researchers trained snails not to do this by repeatedly poking at their breathing tubes when the snails tried to extend them. Two days later, the team again placed the snails in low-oxygen water. The snails trained in normal water had already forgotten their training, and they extended their breathing tubes twice as often as snails trained in methamphetamine-laced water, the researchers report tomorrow in The Journal of Experimental Biology. The results suggest that meth improves memory, something that has been previously observed in creatures with large, complex brains like rats and humans. But since the snails store their memories in a simple, three-neuron network, the team hopes that studying the meth effect in these gastropods will help pinpoint how the drug's memory magnification powers work.
See more ScienceShots.