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Removing the ability to smell danger lets rodents befriend natural enemies, reports Roger Highfield in London Mice befriended their mortal enemies, cats, after scientists removed their ability to smell danger.
Researchers pinpointed nerve cells in mouse brains that trigger fear responses and were able to turn them off using genetic engineering.
The result of their remarkable experiment is the stuff of nightmares for fans of the classic cat and mouse cartoon television series Tom and Jerry -- rodents that show no sign of anxiety or panic when they smell cats.
The mice were able to detect these smells using other olfactory cells but, lacking the key pathway that triggered a "fear" warning to the brain, were quite undeterred by the presence of a cat or acids and other dangerous compounds.