When I was little and getting up to no good, my mom would always tell me that she had eyes on the back of her head. That’s creepy, if you think too hard about it. But what’s creepier is that one day it might actually be possible. A bunch of scientists at Tufts University just figured out how to transplant functioning eyes to the wrong end of a bunch of tadpoles.
Usually we don’t go around calling people mad scientists, but this is definitely edging into that territory. The team first took out the normal eyeballs of a bunch of tadpoles. Then they harvested primordial eyes from tadpole embryos. They transplanted those embryonic eyes into the blind tadpoles’ tails, where there’s a high concentration of nerves. And lo and behold, the tadpoles could see again.
But they weren’t seeing exactly in the same way they would normally. io9 writes:
But here’s what’s really weird. Examination of fluorescent proteins within the transplanted eyes revealed that no nerve connections between the tail-eye and tadpole’s brain formed after transplantation. The eyes functioned even though they weren’t connected to the amphibians’ brains. These tadpoles could see without using their brains.
See? Creepy. We’re never going to misbehave again. The tadpoles are watching.