Scientists have successfully turned normal mice into The Walking Dead style zombies, according to a recently published research paper. The research involved turning on a light which activated certain brain cells which are linked to hunting.
Researchers discovered that by firing up one particularly set of neurons, mice were prompted to hunt. Meanwhile, doing the same to a second set of neurons meant that the rodents were compelled to bite and kill their target.
The research team said that the experiment was so successful that normal mice were prompted to attack anything close to them, including inanimate objects such as sticks or bottle caps, as well as insects.
Scientists from Yale University in the US, and from China and Brazil were utilising a technique known as optogenetics which meant they could effectively “switch on” certain brain cells using a laser. It meant that mice would behave as usual until the laser was switched on, and then they would become aggressive.
In a statement about the study, it said that mice had taken on qualities of “walkers” from The Walking Dead, hunting and biting pretty much anything in their way. The most pronounced effect was found in mice which were already hungry. However, the mice did not actually attack other mice, so the zombie analogy did not stretch to them attacking their own species.
Professor Ivan de Araujo from Yale said the comparisons with The Walking Dead series was only fair to an extent. He said that the experiment did not reveal generalised aggression, but that it was linked to the rodents’ desire to find food. The study was carried out as part of wider research to look at how mice feed themselves. The professor said he expected that further experiments would be carried out which would entail the mice being manipulated even more precisely.