Creatively-applied chemicals can cause the brain of one fish to develop into the brain of another. Researchers reported today that they'd converted the brains of rock-dwelling fish called cichlids into those of a very different, but related, fish species.
The researchers from Georgia Tech report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they dosed the embryos of rock-dwelling cichlids with lithium chloride. Within days, they had developed the brains of sand-dwelling cichlids. These sand-dwelling cousins of the fish have brains with very different characteristics, including extreme variations in the vision-processing regions of the brain.
According to a release from Georgia Tech, this discovery overturns some long-held theories about brain development:
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