Scientists Chemically Alter Developing Fish Brains So They Resemble Other Species

Posted by on May 7th, 2010


A breakthrough in how we understand brain development has led a group of researchers to totally change a developing fish brain into one that looks like another species of fish…

In another part of the study, the team wanted to see if they could use chemicals to change the patterns of gene expression and hence the brain development of the embryos. Could they, in fact, alter the brain of a rock-dwelling embryo to that of a sand-dwelling embryo? Turns out they could.

Sylvester treated the embryos with lithium chloride for three to five hours during an early stage of anterior-posterior patterning. After treatment, he returned the embryos to fish water and then took samples for study at different developmental stages. He found that each time he checked, treatment with lithium chloride up-regulated Wnt signaling, which led to a reallocation of brain precursors to the posterior thalamus.

So for those of you with “Playing God” bingo cards, please mark down that square.

[Science Daily]

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