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Mind Control Of Gene Expression In Mice

Wearing a wireless headset to monitor brainwaves, volunteers were able to control gene expression in mice fitted with a special implant.


(How does mind-controlled gene expression work?)

Fussenegger’s team describes a system that demonstrates the idea. In the report, volunteers are asked either to meditate or concentrate while wearing a headset that picks up their brainwaves. These brainwaves are beamed wirelessly to a receiving unit that works out the person’s state of mind. This signal is then used to control an electromagnetic field generated by a platform that a mouse is sitting on.

Beforehand, the mouse was fitted with a small implant containing copper coils, a light-emitting diode (LED) and a tiny container of genetically modified cells. When the electromagnetic field switches on beneath the mouse, an electric current is induced in the implant’s coils which makes the LED shine a beam of red light. This light illuminates the cells which are designed to respond by switching on a particular gene, causing the cells to make a new protein which seeps out of the implant’s membrane.

In the tests, the new protein did not do anything important to the mice. But it allowed scientists to measure its levels rising and falling in the blood while people wearing the headset changed their state of mind.

Who would ever think of mind power altering the gene expression of other organisms? Robert Heinlein, that's who. In his 1941 classic Methuselah's Children, he describes a race of beings who could read the thoughts of visitors and then impose them on plants, producing specific flavors in food.

Several days after the last of them had been landed Lazarus was exploring alone some distance from the camp. He came across one of the Little People; the native greeted him with the same assumption of earlier acquaintance which all of them seemed to show and led Lazarus to a grove of low trees still farther from base. He indicated to Lazarus that he wanted him to eat. Lazarus was not particularly hungry but he felt compelled to humor such friendliness, so he plucked and ate.
He almost choked in his astonishment. Mashed potatoes and brown gravy!
". . . didn't we get it right? - . ." came an anxious thought.
"Bub," Lazarus said solemnly, "I don't know what you planned to do, but this is just fine!"
A warm burst of pleasure invaded his mind. ". . . try the next tree . .
Lazarus did so, with cautious eagerness. Fresh brown bread and sweet butter seemed to be the combination, though a dash of ice cream seemed to have crept in from somewhere. He was hardly surprised when the third tree gave strong evidence of having both mushrooms and charcoal-broiled steak in its ancestry.
(Read more about Heinlein's Mind Control Genetically Modified Food)

From Mind-controlled transgene expression by a wireless-powered optogenetic designer cell implant via

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