It’s the eternal battle: cat versus mouse. But now, Japanese scientists have created genetically altered mice that do not have an innate fear of cats.
The altered mice sniffed and played with cats instead of running away from them.
Tokyo University professor Ko Kobayakawa created these mice by shutting down receptors in their olfactory bulb, the area of the brain that processes information about smells. Typically, these receptors induce panic and fear once the mice smell a cat.
Kobayakawa said, “Mice fear cats because they are innately conditioned to fear when sensing the odor of the predators. So by getting rid of the specific receptors for sensing the odor, mice never feel afraid of cats.”
He added, “So by applying this theory to other mammals, we will probably be able to make other animals that are not afraid of their natural enemies.”
Although the researchers said the altered mice did freeze in fear whenever a cat meowed.
Source: Guardian Unlimited