Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Octopus and Related Species Can Edit DNA, But With A Significant Downside

Link:  https://www.sciencenews.org/article/cephalopods-may-have-traded-evolution-gains-extra-smarts?mode=topic&context=88&tgt=nr

More Information on Cephalopod Gene Editing:  https://www.wired.com/2017/04/cephalopod-gene-editing/

Cephalopods, such as octopi, are unique amongst invertebrates due to their intelligence.  In a recent study, it was shown that this is because cephalopods can edit mRNA after it has been created.  The editing process in octopi has given them heightened intelligence, but with a downside.  The main driving force behind genetic diversity are mutations in DNA.  The octopi's heavy DNA editing reduces the effect of DNA mutations, and as a result slows the species's ability to adapt to changing conditions.

I find this news to be shocking, to say the least.  I didn't think it was possible for an organism to make such sweeping changes to mRNA after it has been transcribed.  After reading the article, I found myself wondering how the cells are able to control RNA editing.

1 comment:

  1. It is amazing how octopi are able to do this. I wonder if scientists could figure out how and what controls the DNA editing in order to see if we could somehow implement the same kind of editing to control mutations in human DNA.