Mice turn into killers when brain circuit is triggered by laser

Emotional, Burning, Unlimited Tuned Laboratory

Inside every mouse lurks a natural-born killer. Researchers have identified the brain region that controls hunting, and have found a way to switch it on and off.

Ivan de Araujo at Yale University and his team have discovered that two sets of neurons in the mouse brain underpin the instinct to kill. One coordinates the pursuit of prey, while the other controls the neck and jaw muscles used for biting. Both are in the amygdala – the part of the brain involved in motivation, emotion and fear.