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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
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...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
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,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Gene Therapy Dries Up Binge Drinking Rats
28 February 2011 3:00 pm
Even rats can't resist an open bar. When researchers provided a group of the rodents with unlimited free booze, letting them binge on 10% lab ethanol from their water bottles in "90-minute drinking sessions" for 3 weeks, the rats quickly developed a taste for the alcohol and became dependent on it. The team then injected an RNA molecule into the rats' amygdalas, the region of the brain involved in emotional responses. The molecule blocked a gene that codes for a receptor for GABA, a brain signaling molecule. After the treatment, the rats stopped drinking almost immediately, although they started up again after about a week, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Examining the rats' brains, the researchers found a change in the expression of a number of genes, some of which had previously been linked to alcoholism in humans. Blocking these genes using RNA molecules, known as RNA interference, could be a potential treatment for alcoholism, they say.
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