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INDEX – Technical Sciences – Insects’ perception of pain is similar to that of humans

INDEX - Technical Sciences - Insects' perception of pain is similar to that of humans

A recent study combines behavioral, neurological and molecular evidence to support insects’ perception of pain in a similar way to mammals. This may change the method used so far for biological experiments, because following these stricter ethical rules will apply not only to vertebrates and polyps, but also to insects. IFL Science.

The Proceedings of the Royal Society B According to a study published in a trade journal, not much time and effort was spent researching insect pain sensations because scientists didn’t know what to expect—and as we wrote above, many important experiments can be jeopardized if ethical experiments are not carried out on insects either.

In the language of neuroscientists, the feeling of pain, i.e. the perception of nerve pain, is the coding method used by the nervous system to detect harmful or unpleasant stimuli such as extreme temperature, pressure, or extreme exposure to chemicals. Animals (including insects) respond to these cues in order to reduce physical harm as this would limit their survival.

The central nervous system of insects is much less complex than that of mammals, because only a fraction of the brain cells are used to process these stimuli. In particular, it lacks opioid receptors, which are essential for pain relief, at least in humans. But the new research says that doesn’t mean there isn’t a simpler version of the same brain capacity in insects.

This research still doesn’t answer exactly how insects perceive pain, but the new findings suggest that they have similar pain responses to humans, which could change their use as test subjects.

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