Insects feel persistent pain after injury
Scientists have known insects experience something like pain since 2003, but new research published today from Associate Professor Greg Neely and colleagues at the University of Sydney proves for the first time that insects also experience chronic pain that lasts long after an initial injury has healed.
The study in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances offers the first genetic evidence of what causes chronic pain in Drosophila (fruit flies) and there is good evidence that similar changes also drive chronic pain in humans.
“If we can develop drugs or new stem cell therapies that can target and repair the underlying cause, instead of the symptoms, this might help a lot of people,” said Associate Professor Neely.
“People don’t really think of insects as feeling any kind of pain,” said Associate Professor Neely. “But it’s already been shown in lots of different invertebrate animals that they can sense and avoid dangerous stimuli that we perceive as painful.