Zooillogix

Meet Hobbie-J, not your average Long Evans rat:

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(photo from Medical College of Georgia)

Behind that unassuming beady eye lurks the smartest rat-brain ever engineered.
You see, Hobbie-J is what scientists Dr. Joe Tsien and Dr. Xiaohua Cao call a “transgenic rat.” Her dramatically increased intelligence is the result of genetic tinkering. By over-expressing little Hobbie-J’s NR2B gene (a gene partially responsible for learning and memorizing), she was able to remember the solution to mazes and games many times longer than her un-transgenic rat friends. She has also begun frequenting her local coffee shop where she enjoys conversations that compare the Bible and Roman mythology.

The NR2B gene is the neuron gatekeeper. It regulates the amount of time brain cells can communicate with one another. When the gene is over-expressed, the gateway stays open a hundred or so milliseconds longer. Apparently, that’s enough time to have a dramatic effect on memory and learning. Researchers hope that this will lead to more successful treatments for memory-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The findings and implications are pretty amazing.

Perhaps this means the rat world will finally start to appreciate inner beauty and intelligence instead of their current obsession with body image and fashion:

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Patricia consumed only water and rice cakes for weeks before this shoot.

Comments

  1. #1 Monado, FCD
    October 25, 2009

    How soon are people going to demand this treatment for their kids? And how soon after that are the kids going to declare unimproved H. sap. obsolete?

  2. #2 Monado, FCD
    October 25, 2009

    P.S. I love the pointy rat hat!

  3. #3 ym
    October 26, 2009

    Maybe we could breed humans who appreciate inner beauty and intelligence instead of being obsessed with body image and fashion.

  4. #4 Katie Thompson
    October 26, 2009

    Benny is willing to start the process, ladies.

  5. #5 Kevin
    October 27, 2009

    I see trouble on the way. Next thing you know the pinky pointy hat rat and brainy book reading rat will be trying to “take over the world!”

  6. #6 American Delight
    October 28, 2009

    Are you pondering what I’m pondering?

  7. #7 jrounds
    October 29, 2009

    How to properly accesorize that outfit?

  8. #8 porno
    July 27, 2010

    I see trouble on the way. Next thing you know the pinky pointy hat rat and brainy book reading rat will be trying to “take over the world!”

  9. #9 porno
    July 29, 2010

    Maybe we could breed humans who appreciate inner beauty and intelligence instead of being obsessed with body image and fashion

  10. #10 bekir
    September 16, 2010

    mice were disliked by most people, hideous specter of an animal, but for mankind in the invention of many experiments have been useful in making you need to know the value of an animal.

  11. #11 Cathy Tango
    July 2, 2012

    Pretty useful list, thank you.Suggestion to the foreseeable future: how about a list of useful iPhone apps for designers (not just internet designers)?

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