Can mind control the expression of genes?
Martin Fussenegger, a professor of biotechnology and bioengineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, the ETH Zurich, has created a device that contains light-inducible transgenes that respond to light of a specific wavelength and produce proteins or chemical signals within cell implants. This novel device converts the electric energy from a person’s brainwaves into light energy. The light, in turn, activates genes contained in the device implanted in mice, which secrete proteins in the animals’ bodies. To create this device, Fussenegger has combined two technologies - optogenetics, which uses light-sensitive proteins to control gene expression, and an EEG-based brain-computer interface (BCI), which harnesses the brain’s electrical potentials to create a physical output. According to Fussenegger, his device that remotely controls gene expression can be used to treat brain diseases in humans.
Read more in The Scientist.