posted on Nov, 29 2005 @ 10:43 PM
Fear is not just an emotion. It's a physical substance.
Fear is a protein. It's called stathmin.
Researchers at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ deleted the gene that encodes stathmin in mice, it resulted in the uninhibited mischief of a
new breed of mighty mouse. They couldn't fly, but, according to a study published in the November 18, 2005 issue of Cell, the mice began taking
If you've ever seen a mouse indoors—most likely from a chair-top perspective—you may have noticed that it was running along the edge of the room.
Mice are comfortable running along the edges of things and they do the same in lab mazes.
After blocking stathmin production in a group of mice, researchers compared the amount of time mice spent in the perceived safety of a maze's
perimeter to the time spent on the open road of its interior. Mice lacking the stathmin gene spent 50% more time off the walls than did mice with the
Further experiments also found the mice displaying courage. Interestingly, no change in memory or reasoning appeared after the gene deletion.
Stathmin is produced almost exclusively in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala, the small, almond-sized part of the brain responsible for mediating
emotions. (Cells in the testes also express stathmin; "having the balls" may aid an individual in undertaking a risk venture.)