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Encyclopedia > Memory RNA

Memory RNA is a now-discredited hypothetical form of RNA that was proposed by James V. McConnell and others as a means of explaining how long-term memories were stored in the brain. The concept behind it was that since RNA encoded information, and since living cells could produce and modify RNA in reaction to external events, it might also be used in neurons to record stimuli.

One experiment that was purported to show a chemical basis for memory involved training planaria to solve an extremely simple "maze", then grinding them up and feeding them to untrained planaria to see if they would be able to learn more quickly. The experiment seemed to show such an effect, but it was later determined that the original planaria had left chemical tracks inside the maze itself that were not properly cleaned away before the next set of planaria were run.

Memory RNA made some appearances in the science fiction of the time, often in the form of "skill pills" containing memory RNA that provided the consumer with new skills, or in the context of mind transfer.

  Results from FactBites:
RNA - Memory Alpha, the Star Trek Wiki (144 words)
Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) is a substance found in all living cells which acts as a controller of protein synthesis.
Following his exposure to a quantum fissure in 2370, Worf's cellular RNA was thrown into a state of flux, which extended to the subatomic level.
The RNA of the Dominion's Teplan blight virus was found to be difficult to recreate, thus hindering vaccination efforts.
Neurobiology (15063 words)
This memory cell achieves this recognition by taking the memory RNA it received from the original memory cell, but the neurons that feed it its input are such that they activate the same introns but receive their input from receptors that are displaced from those that fed the original memory cell.
The memory cells observe the motor neurons that are active and the part of the visual cortex that is excited, and from past experience remember the motor neurons that were active after an eye movement and the new position of the excitatory stimulus after such a movement.
Memory cells can detect the time of a particular memory by using an external stimulus, such as a clock, and adding the observed time to the other stimuli in the memory, but this requires a particular stimulus that is unique to each moment of time and no such stimulus exists in the body.
  More results at FactBites »



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