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  • Translator: Joseph Geni Reviewer: Krystian Aparta

  • Greg Gage: It's an age-old pursuit of all parents,

  • getting their kids to eat their vegetables.

  • But getting them to eat cookies or ice cream

  • is relatively easy,

  • and that's because our brains prefer sweetness.

  • Now, there's a new technology called optogenetics

  • which may be able to trick our taste buds,

  • for instance preferring vegetables over sweets.

  • We're going to try this today using fruit flies.

  • [DIY Neuroscience]

  • The reason why we experiment with fruit flies

  • is they have a small enough nervous system

  • that gives us a fighting chance to really understand what's going on.

  • And believe it or not, their taste buds are very similar to ours.

  • But before we try to manipulate their taste preferences,

  • we need to establish: What is the baseline of the fruit fly?

  • What does it prefer?

  • We call this a control experiment.

  • Spencer's been hard at work doing this.

  • OK, Spencer, let's do our first experiment.

  • We want to test to see if fruit flies prefer bananas or broccoli.

  • So what do we need?

  • Spencer Brown: So we need the fly pad, which is basically an iPad for flies.

  • It measures the touch.

  • GG: You put a fly in each chamber?

  • SB: Yeah. Inside, we'll offer them banana and broccoli

  • to see which one they prefer.

  • GG: In order to count how many times

  • the fruit fly eats a banana versus the broccoli,

  • these chambers have been outfitted with a small electrode

  • that sends data to a computer.

  • And so what were your findings on banana versus broccoli?

  • SB: I found that the flies visited banana the most.

  • GG: Both were there, but like most kids,

  • they choose not to eat the broccoli, and they go switch to something sweeter.

  • GG: Now a quick background on how taste works.

  • Taste buds are made up of specialized neurons

  • called taste receptors.

  • When we eat something that triggers a particular taste,

  • those taste neurons will fire a signal to the brain.

  • This allows our brain to know what's sweet and what's bitter.

  • So when a fruit fly eats a banana, its sweet taste neurons will fire.

  • But when it eats broccoli, those same neurons stay pretty quiet.

  • But what if we could force those sweet-tasting neurons to fire

  • every time the fruit fly eats broccoli?

  • We may be able to get the fruit fly

  • to like broccoli as much as banana.

  • Enter optogenetics.

  • This is the revolutionary new tool that's taking neuroscience by storm,

  • and in this case, "opto" means light

  • and "genetic" refers to the fact that these fruit flies have been modified

  • to contain a special gene that makes only certain neurons respond to light.

  • In our case, we've added the special gene to the sweet taste receptors.

  • Now here's the fun part.

  • Optogenetics means that we can control these special neurons

  • whenever they're exposed to a bright-colored light,

  • causing them to send messages to the brain.

  • In this experiment, we're going to have these modified fruit flies

  • choose between banana and broccoli again,

  • only this time, every time the fruit fly eats the broccoli,

  • we're going to trigger a big bright red light.

  • And when the channels see that red light, they're going to open up,

  • and they're going to cause that neuron to fire,

  • and the sweet taste message will be sent to the brain.

  • How do you get them out?

  • SB: So we're going to be using a mouth aspirator,

  • so it's just two straws put together.

  • GG: So it's a fancy name for a straw.

  • SB: Basically.

  • GG: So you're going to suck those out.

  • Have you ever sucked up a fly before?

  • SB: Once or twice.

  • GG: There we go. You got all four.

  • OK, perfect.

  • So you're going to turn on your OptoStimmers here.

  • You're going to park the light right on top of the chambers.

  • So now we sit here and we wait for them to eat broccoli,

  • and then when the light fires,

  • they're going to think it's tasting something sweet.

  • Come on. Oh, he's getting closer.

  • Come on. It tastes good now.

  • SB: It's about to.

  • GG: Oh, he's back. All right!

  • All right, so now we see that some of these flies

  • are switching over from the banana to the broccoli.

  • SB: Exactly, yeah.

  • GG: Every time this light goes off,

  • that means that they think they're tasting something sweet.

  • SB: Yeah. So this guy's really going after it.

  • GG: So we saw that we were able to rescue broccoli

  • and make it just as appealing as banana to our fruit flies.

  • And we're able to replicate these same results

  • in all of our experiments.

  • So the question is: Can we do the same thing in humans?

  • Well, that depends on a number of items.

  • First, do optogenetic tools even work in humans?

  • And that looks like the answer is yes,

  • and in fact, clinical trials are already being planned

  • that will treat chronic pain and blindness using optogenetics.

  • And the next question is, can we easily trigger a light source

  • so that every time we eat vegetables, it will go off?

  • For that, I'm afraid at least at this time, the answer is still no.

  • But today, we got to witness just a taste of optogenetics

  • and its amazing potential.

  • (Music)

Translator: Joseph Geni Reviewer: Krystian Aparta

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TED】Greg Gage: How you can make a fruit fly eat veggies (How you can make a fruit fly eat veggies | DIY Neuroscience, a TED series) (【TED】Greg Gage: How you can make a fruit fly eat veggies (How you can make a fruit fly eat veggies | DIY Neuroscience, a T

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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