Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Are You Smarter than an Octopus?
A descendant from the Mollusk family, octopuses are among one of the most intelligence sea creatures found in our oceans. Anywhere from clever survival techniques to understanding what goes beyond the aquarium tank, octopuses have evolved a unique learning method. As technology has improved, scientists took advantage of their resources and sequenced an octopuses genome this past August.
Through further investigation, the genome evidence showed striking results. Octopuses have the same amount of neurotransmission genes just like the other lower mollusks. Scientists explained that these set of nervous system building blocks should have prevented octopuses from gaining additional knowledge. Among the neurotransmission genes, other gene families were found: protocadheirns and C2H2 zinc finger transcription factors. Protocadherins are able to connect neurons to more complex circuits, while C2H2 zinc can turn other genes on and off. With both of these genes expressed, scientists hypothesized that functions such as memory, navigation, and planning were a result.
When first reading this article, I had no idea how intelligent octopuses can be. Through further research and reading this article, octopuses have opened a new perspective of knowledge pertaining to ocean life creatures. Genome sequences encode an individuals make up, therefore specific genes are capable of producing their own function. Although octopuses are part of the Mollusk family, they do not have the same genetic make up of a snail or clam. It makes me wonder if other ocean life species possess these genes, but do not express them due to other genes "switching them off. " Genes are capable of doing funny things, and all it takes is for one mutation to occur to open a new light in genetic findings.