It’s fascinating what researchers are able to uncover. Recent studies performed on octopus have shown evidence of extensive RNA editing, which allows the octopus to alter protein sequences without changing underlying DNA code.
“The late British zoologist Martin Wells said the octopus is an alien. In this sense, then, our paper describes the first sequenced genome from an alien.”
A team of scientists at the University of Chicago in the United States came to the unusual conclusion that octopuses are literally aliens, according to research published in the journal Nature.
According to the results of the study, the genome of the octopus is completely different from any other animal on Earth. Experts say that Octopus are some of the most unique animals on earth, and new studies just prove how incredibly fascinating they are.
In fact, cephalopods have more than 33,000 gene encoding proteins, a figure much higher than that present in the human genome.
“The octopus seems to be completely different from all other animals on Earth, including other mollusks,” said Clifton Ragsdale, one of the authors of the study.
In addition, this unusual being has the largest nervous system among invertebrates and a brain highly developed and able to memorize and learn.
“The late British zoologist Martin Wells stated how octopus are alien. In this sense, then, our paper describes the first sequenced genome from an alien.”
The study was conducted by experts from the University of Chicago, University of California, Berkeley and Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology as part of the Cephalopod Sequencing Consortium. The results of the study serve as an important foundation for evolutionary studies and deeper research into the genetic and molecular mechanisms that underlie cephalopod-specific traits write experts.
According to marine biologists, the octopus genome appears to have been transformed by an outside force, “as if someone had liquefied it.” In addition, the so-called ‘jumping genes’ of the genome of octopi are able to reorganize themselves, although this function is still unknown. US scientists intend to use the results of the research as a basis for further studies on the genetic mechanisms of cephalopods.
“With a few notable differences, the octopus essentially has a normal invertebrate genome that’s just been totally rearranged, like it’s been put into a blender and mixed,” said Caroline Albertin, co-lead author and graduate student in Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago. “This points to genes being placed in new genomic environments with distinct regulatory elements, and was a completely unexpected finding.”
Perhaps the most interesting parts of the study is that experts found proof of extended RNA editing, which enables the octopus to alter protein sequences without changing underlying DNA code.
Find out more about the study in an article from the University of Chicago titled: Landmark sequencing of octopus genome shows basis for intelligence, camouflage