This web page was produced as an assignment for an undergraduate course at Davidson College.

September 13, 1999

Smart Genes? Abstract

A new study sheds light on HOW MEMORY WORKS and raises questions about whether we should use genetics to make people brainier

The small, brown, furry creature inside a cage in Princeton University's molecular-biology department looks for all the world like an ordinary mouse. It sniffs around, climbs the bars, burrows into wood shavings on the floor, eats, eliminates, sleeps. But put the animal through its paces in a testing lab, and it quickly becomes evident that this mouse is anything but ordinary. One after another, it knocks off a variety of tasks designed to test a rodent's mental capacities--and almost invariably learns more quickly, remembers what it learns for a longer time and adapts to changes in its environment more...