Scientists Hail Hobbie-J As 'Cleverest Rat'

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Hobbie-J, named after a Chinese cartoon character, can remember objects for three times longer than other rats and is better at finding its way through mazes.The rat, when it was an embryo, was injected with genetic material to boost the NR2B gene which controls memory.

The success brings hope for future dementia patients, as it is thought the gene enhancement could one day be used in a drug treatment for human brain disorders.Dr Joe Z Tsien, who led the experiment at the Medical College of Georgia, said: “Hobbie-J can remember information for longer. It’s the equivalent of me giving you a telephone number and somehow you remembering it for an hour.

“Our study provides a solid basis for the rationale that the NR2B gene is critical to enhancing memory. That gene could be used for memory-enhancing drugs.”Dr Tsien undertook a similar experiment on a mouse named Doogie 10 years ago, but thie latest trial shows that memory enhancement can work on different types of mammals, potentially paving the way for human use.
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Scientists Hail Hobbie-J As 'Cleverest Rat'

rat_1395989c

Hobbie-J, named after a Chinese cartoon character, can remember objects for three times longer than other rats and is better at finding its way through mazes.The rat, when it was an embryo, was injected with genetic material to boost the NR2B gene which controls memory.

The success brings hope for future dementia patients, as it is thought the gene enhancement could one day be used in a drug treatment for human brain disorders.Dr Joe Z Tsien, who led the experiment at the Medical College of Georgia, said: “Hobbie-J can remember information for longer. It’s the equivalent of me giving you a telephone number and somehow you remembering it for an hour.

“Our study provides a solid basis for the rationale that the NR2B gene is critical to enhancing memory. That gene could be used for memory-enhancing drugs.”Dr Tsien undertook a similar experiment on a mouse named Doogie 10 years ago, but thie latest trial shows that memory enhancement can work on different types of mammals, potentially paving the way for human use.
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How To Make Cat Treats

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Cats deserve (and expect) the royal treatment. And what could be a more regal treat than having a batch of homemade treats baked by you just for your feline friend?
There are loads of cat-treat recipes that you can find online, from easy-bake to intricately-bake. To get started, try your hand at this sweet and simple cat-treat recipe:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine half a cup of dry milk with half a cup of wheat germ. Mix well with a regular-sized jar of baby food (a liver flavor is sure to please your cat) and a little bit of honey.
3. Grease a cookie sheet and drop tablespoonfuls of the treat batter onto the sheet just as you would with cookie dough.
4. Bake for 8–10 minutes. The treats will have a slightly gooey consistency.
5. If you’re not going to serve all the treats to your furry highness in the next few days, freeze half of your baked batch.
Yummeow!

(source)

Ecologists Spot Rare Wild Cat In UAE

A never-seen-before wild cat has been spotted in the protected zone of Wadi Wurayah on the eastern Coast of the UAE.Camera traps set up by the ecologists working in the mountainous area have captured an image of a rare breed of wild cat (Felis silvestris lybica) whose presence was, until now, just assumed thanks to some elusive tracks, WAM news agency quoting Gulf News daily reported yesterday.Wadi Wurayah is a 129 sq km area that was declared UAE’s first protected mountainous area in March 2009, the report added.

The discovery of the wild cat demonstrates the high ecological value of the area to the ongoing preservation efforts of the UAE and Middle East’s wildlife.”The discovery underpins the importance of protecting the Wadi Wurayah area. We have not seen a wild cat for many years and it is vital that we do our utmost to protect the area, allowing the wildlife residing there to flourish,” said Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, the director of Emirates Wildlife Society-World Wildlife Fund for Nature.
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Right-Handed Chimpanzees Provide Clues To The Origin Of Human Language

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Most of the linguistic functions in humans are controlled by the left cerebral hemisphere. A study of captive chimpanzees at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center (Atlanta, Georgia), reported in the January 2010 issue of Elsevier’s Cortex, suggests that this “hemispheric lateralization” for language may have its evolutionary roots in the gestural communication of our common ancestors. A large majority of the chimpanzees in the study showed a significant bias towards right-handed gestures when communicating, which may reflect a similar dominance of the left hemisphere forcommunication in chimpanzees as that seen for language functions in humans.

A team of researchers, supervised by Prof. William D. Hopkins of Agnes Scott College (Decatur, Georgia), studied hand-use in 70 captivechimpanzees over a period of 10 months, recording a variety of communicative gestures specific to chimpanzees . These included ‘arm threat’, ‘extend arm’ or ‘hand-slap’ gestures produced in different social contexts, such as attention-getting interactions, shared excitation, threat, aggression, greeting, reconciliation or invitations for grooming or for play. The gestures were directed at the human observers, as well as toward otherchimpanzees.
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