Science: Taming the Killer Instinct

In their wild state, rats are natural killers. The mere sight and smell of a mouse seem to trigger an unvarying response: the rat pounces on the mouse, aims for the back of its neck and kills it instantly. In recent experiments at Princeton University, scientists investigating the mechanisms involved in the rat's murderous behavior made a remarkable discovery: by injecting drugs into the rat's brain, they can turn its killer instinct on or off almost at will.

Message Flow. The researchers concentrated their attention on a small area at the base of the...

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