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A green neon sea snail. Photo: Prisma Bildagentur/UIG via Getty Images

Researchers claim to have transplanted a specific memory between sea snails using RNA injections, reports the Guardian.

Why it matters: If the findings of the new study in the journal eNeuro are eventually proven to be accurate — something some scientists express doubt over — it could prompt a rethinking of the concept of memories.

The backdrop: The scientists, led by UCLA neurobiologist David Glanzman, theorized that some memories are encoded in an organism's genetic makeup, and not just in their brain.

What they did, per the Guardian:

  • Glanzman implanted wires into the tails of two California sea hares and gave them a series of electric shocks to sensitize them and trigger a defense mechanism.
  • Researchers extracted RNA from these sea snails and injected it into others that had not been exposed to the shocks. They found they became sensitized as well and showed the same defense mechanism.

What they're saying: Other researchers aren't convinced that this hypothesis rings true. Some told the Guardian that there may be a switch in the snails triggered by the RNA that causes the snails to become defensive, but it may not be the same thing as transplanting a memory.

Yes, but: Tomás Ryan, a scientist studying memory, said radical thought is needed in the field, even if hypotheses like the one in this study are eventually proven to be flawed. He told the Guardian:

"In a field like this which is so full of dogma, where we are waiting for people to retire so we can move on, we need as many new ideas as possible."

Go deeper

Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults

A vaccination center installed at the Barbara Chapel of St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. Photo: Alex Halada/AFP via Getty Images

Austria's lower house of parliament voted on Thursday in favor of making COVID-19 vaccinations compulsory for most adults from next month.

Why it matters: The bill is expected to soon pass the upper house and be signed by President Alexander Van der Bellen in order for the law to take effect Feb. 1, per Reuters. It'd make Austria the first EU nation to impose such a sweeping mandate.

Hope King, author of Closer
Updated 3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Peloton pumps its brakes

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Peloton’s popularity is falling as swiftly as it shot up.

Why it matters: Not all pandemic habits stick around. Peloton's trajectory over the past two years exemplifies how challenging it's been for companies to gauge shifts in consumer demand — particularly in sectors heavily altered by the pandemic.

Mitch McConnell's remarks on Black voters raise ire

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during a Capitol Hill news conference earlier this year. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been widely criticized for comments he made this week about Black American voters.

Driving the news: When asked by a reporter Wednesday about concerns among voters of color, McConnell said "the concern is misplaced, because if you look at the statistics, Black American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans."

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