Breaking News
'Police incident' in Salisbury city centre

Worms are 'caring' according to Porton scientists

Worm research - Porton Down  and Soton Uni - Evidence of worm food-leaving (University of Southampton)

6:16am 2nd October 2017

This has to be one of the loveliest pieces of research involving scientists from the Porton Down labs near Salisbury.

A team of experts has concluded that the simple worm can show elements of 'love' and is actually quite 'caring'.

Modern neuroscience has long been smitten by the idea of identifying how the brain, and its complex array of nerve cells, bring about social behaviour. Now they've identified the worm's 'love hormone' which shows their caring side.

MUM'S THE WORD (OR WORM)!

There are several levels of social behaviour but perhaps the most primitive are those that make parents act to ensure the well-being of their offspring. In fact the maternal instinct (sorry Dads) are recognised as among the most potent of behavioural drives.

Researchers at the University of Southampton have been working with the National Infection Service at Porton Down, along with KU Leuven in Belgium. They've recognised that the simple worm - C.elegans (pictured) - which is approximately 1mm in length - may actually harbour an ancient form of parental behaviour designed to benefit their offspring.

GET YOUR 'WIGGLE' ON:

Professor Vincent O'Connor, who jointly led the work with Lindy Holden-Dye and Mathew Wand, explained how they reached their conclusions:

"The worms lead a simple life in which they feed off the bacteria that exist in the fermenting environments they live in."

"They perpetuate generations using a life cycle in which adult worms self-fertilize and lay their off spring into the bacteria. This immediately sets up a conundrum, as the parent will be competing for the same food source as their off spring."

"The research shows that before the food source becomes limiting, the parents recognise their offspring and execute a food leaving behaviour to benefit their off spring."

"Importantly, and enabled by the experimental virtues of the worm, the research shows this is dependent on the hormone nematocin, the ancient nematode version of a human hormone called oxytocin. These hormones are known to regulate sociability and have been called the 'love hormone'. So it would appear that behaviours that ensure our parents are keen to see us eat well have morphed from the ancient organisation of simple nervous systems such as those found in worms."

DEEPER READING:

The research paper 'An oxytocin-dependent social interaction between larvae and adult C. elegans' is published in Scientific Reports (DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-09350-7).

Click here to read their paper: www.nature.com

Suggested articles
Cleveland Lodge Care Home (credit Google Street View)

Figheldean dementia care home to close after 22 years

Cleveland Lodge will cease trading at the beginning of February, following the death of their owner.

Lottie and Mike Rawlings (DT Salisbury)

Lottie finds new Wiltshire home after 4 1/2 years in care

The 6 year old Crossbreed is finally living with a new family after being looked after by the Dogs Trust.

Most read
Police Car in Churchill Gardens car park Salisbury

Head on crash on A360 near Woodford Valley turning

Lucky escape for drivers after lorry and car collide at the New Cut crossroads this morning (17th January).

Police incident - suspected bomb scare Salisbury - Jan 2018 (Ellie Harries) (1)

'Police incident' in Salisbury city centre

Officers have sealed off Blue Boar Row while they deal with an incident.

Newer article

Soldier recognised by Queen set to change lives in Africa

Local News: Sony wants to build a library in Ghana next year but needs your help.

Older article

Work remains on track for Wiltshire Air Ambulance's new base

Local News: The £5.1m base will bring the emergency helicopter and charity team together for the very first time.

Top articles

'Police incident' in Salisbury city centre

Local News: Officers have sealed off Blue Boar Row while they deal with an incident.

What should we make of Emmanuel Macron's Bayeux Tapestry offer?

National: As a nation we have long had a peculiar weakness for revelling in other countries getting the better of us.

First look at Zac Efron as notorious serial killer Ted Bundy

Showbiz: Zac Efron has shared the first photo of himself as real-life serial killer Ted Bundy in a new biopic premiering this year.

Arsene Wenger's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang comments upset Borussia Dortmund

Sport: Borussia Dortmund have criticised Arsene Wenger after the Arsenal manager said Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would fit in at the Emirates.

Turkey uses two cranes to lift stricken plane from cliff edge

World: Engineers in Turkey are lifting off a plane from the shore of the Black Sea, where it is lodged in a dangerous position after falling off the runway.

Become a Spire FM VIP

Log inSign up

Waiting for next track...:

 

 

Most Read

Head on crash on A360 near Woodford Valley turning

Wednesday 17th January, 2018

Lucky escape for drivers after lorry and car collide at the New Cut crossroads this morning (17th January).

'Police incident' in Salisbury city centre

Thursday 18th January, 2018

Officers have sealed off Blue Boar Row while they deal with an incident.

Woman takes electrical items from Salisbury supermarket

Wednesday 17th January, 2018

A 34 year old has been arrested after picking up the items at Tesco on Southampton Road.

Salisbury supermarket staff and police officer assaulted

Thursday 18th January, 2018

A woman's been arrested on suspicion of common assault after she was challenged by store staff for opening cosmetics.

Man assaulted in Salisbury Cheese Market

Wednesday 17th January, 2018

A suspect was eventually arrested by an off-duty police officer while on a train from Salisbury station.

More news...

Quick Poll

What charity event are you supporting this year?

© Copyright 2018 Spire FM, A UKRD group company