Ridin' The Worm: Scientists Bio-Engineer Worms That Can Be Steered With Light

January 24, 2011


Damn yeah I still have my Glo-Worm!

Because scientists won't be happy until we can ride worms sans maker hooks (Dune reference FTW!), they've managed to genetically modify a species to take "directions" from pulses of light. This should end well.

There are no wires or electric modifications necessary. The worm can simply be steered using focused, directed light.

Caenorhabditis elegans is only a millimeter long, has a nervous system of only 302 neurons, and is transparent.

The worm was genetically modified so its neurons were partially comprised of channelrhodopsin-2 and halorhodopsin. These two proteins are light-activated, and go off when exposed to certain kinds of light. The scientist then used lasers and mirrors to make the worm feel and do what they wanted.

They also managed to get the worm to lay an egg.

WHOA WHOA WHOA -- "managed to get the worm to lay an egg"? Fuuuuuuuuuuu. What if I don't want to be bio-engineered to pop monster boners at every stoplight?! Don't get me wrong, I do, but I can imagine some people don't. Mostly womens.

Scientists engineer a light-controlled worm [io9]

Thanks to Mr. Sausage, who just wants to be bio-engineered to taste better. Dammit, a sausage can dream, can't he?!

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