In 2016, CNRS scientists demonstrated that the slime mould Physarum polycephalum, a single-cell organism without a nervous system, could learn to no longer fear a harmless but aversive substance and could transmit this knowledge to a fellow slime mould. In a new study, a team from CNRS and the Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier has shown what might support this memory and in fact it could be the aversive substance itself! These results were published in a special issue of the Philosophical Transaction of the Royal Society B.
The results of this study prove that the aversive substance could be the support of the slime mould’s memory. The researchers are now trying to establish whether if the slime moulds can memorise several aversive substances at the same time and to what extent they can get used to them.