Researchers Develop Way to Control Genes with Brain Waves

Researchers Develop Way to Control Genes with Brain Waves

ETH Zurich professor Martin Fussenegger led researchers to develop the first gene network that can be controlled by a person’s thoughts.  

This is a novel gene regulation method that enables thought-specific brainwaves to control the conversion of genes into proteins.  

“For the first time, we are able to tap into human brainwaves, transfer them wirelessly to a gene network and regulate the expression of a gene depending on the type of thought. Being able to control gene expression via the power of thought is a dream that we've been chasing for over a decade." - Fussenegger

The hope is that this technology paves the way for thought-controlled implants to combat neurological diseases by detecting specific brainwaves and triggering and controlling the creation of certain agents in the implant at exactly the right time.

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Folcher M, Oesterle S, Zwicky K, Thekkottil T, Heymoz J, Hohmann M, Christen M, Daoud El-Baba M, Buchmann P, Fussenegger, M: Mind-controlled transgene expression by a wireless-powered optogenetic designer cell implant. Nature Communications, published online 11th November 2014. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms6392