ISP: Real Life Tom & Jerry

On today's show: Scientists create fearless mice; drunk at the airport; and Ike Turner's legacy.



The game of cat and mouse may have finally been won. Scientists at Tokyo University have found a way to genetically engineer mice to be free of any fear of their feline friends.

To explain the findings simply, which is the only way I'd know how to, mice are hardwired to freeze up or run away when they smell a cat. It is the feline scent that triggers a fear and flight mechanism in a mouse's brain.

The researchers removed certain nasal cells that help to trigger that instinct, and the result was a mouse that played with and teased a cat, never once ducking for cover.

There's a catch for the mice, of course. This particular study starred a very docile housecat who would sooner snuggle with a rodent than stalk and kill it. The kind of genetic mutation developed is interesting for research purposes, but not at all an advantage in the real world.

What can it teach us about human instinct and behavior? The scientists say the reaction the mice demonstrate is similar to the way humans may pull away from a chemical smell, or the smell of smoke—things that indicate danger.

On the flip side, there is a theory that love is a science, a combination of DNA and pheromones that interact to trigger attraction. In fact, a new dating service called Scientific Match charges about $2000 to help you find your scientific soul mate. The founders claim that the principle element that attracts one human to another is odor.

I think I'll keep my money. I have a head cold.
  • Tony Maciulis

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