Algernon Lives! (Scientists Develop World's Smartest Rat)

Hobbie-J is a genetically engineered rat that can navigate mazes faster and recognize toys better than his peers. We just hope the little guy fares better than Charlie and Algernon.

Scientists in Georgia and China developed Hobbie-J's superior brain by modifying the NR2B gene, which in turn increased NMBA receptor sites on the brain's individual neurons (which are sort of like pores). Bigger pores equals every so slightly increased transfer duration of neuron-to-neuron messages, allowing Hobbie-J learn things more efficiently. But Hobbie-J also has a better memory as well, remembering novel toys up to 3 times longer than peers.

Apparently the super rat processed complex situations better, but Hobbie-J wasn't capable of any sort of higher level cognition associated with larger-brained mammals. Or we just weren't smart enough to notice. [Physorg via PopSci]


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