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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Octopuses Are Big Weirdos

We all know octopuses and squid are weird. What you might not know is just how weird they are. In fact, these creatures actually use their RNA in a quite different way than practically any other animal on earth:
Stanford University geneticist Jin Billy Li heard about Joshua Rosenthal’s work on RNA editing in squid, his jaw dropped. That’s because the work, published today in the journal Cell, revealed that many cephalopods present a monumental exception to how living things use the information in DNA to make proteins. In nearly every other animal, RNA—the middleman in that process—faithfully transmits the message in the genes. But octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish (but not their dumber relatives, the nautiluses) edit their RNA, changing the message that gets read out to make proteins.
But there is a dropback to the adaptation -it means that octopuses and squid slow down their genome evolution.
You can read more about what these findings mean over on Wired.

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