Audrey Dussutour, Single-celled life can learn : evidence from slime molds

January 10, 2017, 2-3:30pm, Salle de conférence du Centre de génomique fonctionnelle

Single-celled life can learn : evidence from slime molds

Audrey Dussutour (Centre de Recherches sur la Cognition Animale, CNRS & Université de Toulouse)

Learning in brainless organisms : evidence from slime molds» Learning, defined as a change in behaviour evoked by experience, has hitherto been investigated almost exclusively in multicellular neural organisms. Evidence for learning in non-neural multicellular organisms is scant and only a few unequivocal reports of learning have been described in single celled organisms. In this seminar, in a first part, I will demonstrate habituation, an unmistakable form of learning, in the non-neural organism Physarum polycephalum. In a second part, I will show that learned information can be transferred from one cell to another via cell fusion. Our results point to the diversity of organisms lacking neurons, which likely display a hitherto unrecognized capacity for learning, and suggest that slime moulds may be an ideal model system in which to investigate fundamental mechanisms underlying learning processes.

Audio file of the talk available on demand; please contact Thomas Pradeu.

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