When blue light hits these molecules it opens a hole

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contains proteins called channelrhdopsins that can convert light energy into electricity. When blue light hits these molecules, it opens a hole that allows charged particles to enter the eye spot which allows an electrical signal-- like a solar cell charging up a battery. Before disclosing the preclinical application of this information, the speaker goes more into detail about the many forms of blindness where the photoreceptors in the retina are atrophied or destroyed. The signals detected by the photoreceptors are transformed from various computations to the ganglion cells (the layer of cells at the bottom) where the information is relayed to the brain, known as perception. Since a drug is useless to repair this situation from a lack of a binding site, taking the channelrhodopsins proteins and installing them on the spared cells was the starting hypothesis for the pre-clinical trials. In the study, a mouse was experimented by trying to solve a six-arm maze that contained a small volume of water to motivate the mouse to move. The goal of the maze is to get out of the water and reach the platform. Eventually, the mouse solves the maze, but he swims down every arm of the maze until reaching the platform. The control variable (no blue light photo sensors and blindness) was tested two weeks before the experimental variable (one dose of photosensitive molecule on a virus). After the mouse was inserted with the photosensitive molecule, the mouse could avoid walls and make cognitive use of its eyes again. This topic is relevant to Biology 112 from the background information of pathologies of inhibitory and excitatory cells in the brain. The potential solution of genetically engineering photosensitive proteins to cure blindness could arise other studies into considering this treatment for mental health disorders such as schizophrenia and epilepsy. It is safe to say that I agree with the content presented with the implications of being able to control seizures with light instead the use of drugs. Essentially, controlling the brain with an on/off switch.
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Juliana Rivera
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  • Fall '19
  • Juliana Rivera

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