Octopus features are not only unique, but they reveal surprising patterns of complex intelligence, seldom found in wildlife. Researchers have managed to sequence the whole genome of an octopus, highlighting particular features that played an important role in the evolution of certain traits, such as large nervous systems and adaptive camouflage.
An octopus has more than 33.000 protein coding genes, more than humans are designed with. A California two-spot octopus has been laid under the magnifying glass of detailed analysis, with experts mapping expression profiles in 12 different tissues.
A first conclusion would be that these peculiar animals are utterly different from all other species, they have extremely large brains and they are amazingly clever in problem-solving situations. Although they mainly live a solitary life, with males dying immediately after mating and females doing so immediately after laying eggs, their existence unfolds on extremely complex heights.
A first particular trait found in the animal’s genome is that it never doubled up its genes, as some similar structures of marine life are known to do. In a unique manner, the octopus managed to grow a much larger set of genes compared to its relatives.
A British zoologist declared that the octopus is merely an alien and in regards to that, the new paper describes the first sequenced genome from an alien. It cannot be compared to any other structure in wildlife and it cannot be grouped in any other pattern than the pattern it builds itself.
Experts have discovered amazing differences from other invertebrates, including widespread genomic rearrangements, along with a dramatic expansion of family genes involved in the neuronal development that was thought to be unique to vertebrates.
Octopuses are not only highly intelligent but have populated the earth more than 500 million years ago, long before plants have moved onto land. They hold in ancient, precious and complex genetic features which offer them high levels of intelligence. They belong to the class of predatory molluscs.
Their genome is 2, 7 million base-pairs in size, with many stretches of repeated sequences. Researchers have also found what is called extensive RNA editing, which allows the creature to alter protein sequences without changing its underlying DNA code.
The entire study was conducted by teams from University of Chicago, Berkeley and University of California along with the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology. All the activity was performed under the umbrella of the Cephalophod Sequencing Consortium.
Image Source: gizmodo.com.au