The entire world has been intrigued of the intellectual capacity of an octopus. Such a cephalopod mollusk has proven for numerous times that it is an intelligent sea creature. Scientists influenced them to take part in many problem-solving experiments. Each time, octopi showed they are capable of long and short-term memory. Moreover, they can escape tanks, unscrew jars, and talk with one another through their own codes. As of recently, a new team of researchers discovered another ability of theirs that enable them to alter their own brain genes.
Only Coleoid Cephalopods Can Alter Their Brain Genes
Scientists from Woods Hole, Marine Biological Laboratory, and Tel Aviv University have joined their research to uncover an amazing fact about Coleoid cephalopods such as octopi and squids. Their work was published in journal Cell, and it contains some insightful discoveries. Their attention was attracted by the fact that the RNA of such invertebrates seemed to be rewritten. The codes for proteins bore numerous alterations, especially for those in neurons.
Scientists got to name this unusual phenomenon as RNA editing. Basically, the cephalopods can take one enzyme from one base of RNA and repurpose it for a different base. The authors of the study suspect that this ability was developed as a mechanism of adaptability. By changing their brain genes, cephalopods can be flexible and thrive in any type of environment. By comparison, humans have 20,000 genes. However, only a few of them show an overwritten material which makes them different from the original DNA.
Scientists Believe RNA Editing Is a Tool of Adaptability
The scientific world was aware that octopi and squids are capable of RNA editing. However, the new study measured how frequently the creatures of the sea resort to this practice. The answer is surprising. For instance, squids are also hosting a total of 20,000 genes. However, in comparison to humans, they can change a whopping number of 11,000 RNA sequences. Two species of octopus and the cuttlefish are capable of the same performance.
There is no clear reason why this feature evolved to such a complex extent within Coleoid cephalopods. Some scientists believe that this flexibility of genes permitted octopi to adapt to the harshest forms of environment. Other persons of science are more excited about the discovery. They believe that the RNA editing has led to an exceptionally intellectual capacity for both squids and octopi.
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