Light-induced behaviour

style="float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; font-weight: 600;"Tue 24th Jul, 2012

Pulses of blue light are able to activate brain cells and control specific behaviors in rhesus monkeys, according to work published online on July 26 in Current Biology. 

A team of researchers, led by Dr. Wim Vanduffel from the Massachusetts General Hospital, USA, used a technique called optogenetics, where light-sensitive genes are inserted into cells. Researchers used optogenetics together with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to modify and track a group of neurons responsible for particular eye movements. 

"We are the first to show that optogenetics can alter the behavior of monkeys," says Dr. Vanduffel. And this new finding promises a new era in therapeutics.

"This opens the door to use of optogenetics at a large scale in primate research and to start developing optogenetic-based therapies for humans."




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