Scientists have conducted research on thousands of random genetic variations, to determine which gene affects the response of the worms to cold air.
Researchers at the University of Michigan in the United States have identified a protein that plays a role in sensing weather changes as winter approaches.
Lead author of the study, scientist Shawn Xu, said: "Apparently, the nerves under the skin can feel cold. But no one has been able to accurately identify their receptors. I think that , now we have the answer ".
Utilizing the simple body structure of a nematode known as Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), the scientists conducted research on thousands of random genetic gene variants, to identify the variable. Which gene affects the worm's response to cold air.
The team found that the worms lacking the glr-3 gene did not react when the temperature dropped below 18 degrees Celsius.
The gene glr-3 is responsible for creating the protein that senses GLR-3 and preserves the evolution of all species, including humans.
Research shows that worms will lack sensitivity to cold temperatures, if their bodies do not have GLR-3 protein. Extending the study of the role of the glr-3 gene in vertebrates such as striped flounder, mice and humans, the scientists also noted similar results.
In the mouse, the glr-3 gene version has a scientific name, GlamK2 , which is known for transmitting chemical signals in the brain.
However, through this new study, the scientists also discovered that the glr-3 gene also works in a group of neurons that help mice detect environmental stimuli from outside, such as temperature. , through haptic perception.
Scientist Shawn Xu emphasized: "In recent years, scientists have focused on the function of this gene in the brain. Now, we have found that this gene also plays a major role in the cold system. peripheral receptor. This is really interesting. This is one of the few sensory organs that have not yet been identified in nature. "