Octopus And Squid Possess The Super-Power To Rewrite Their RNA
There has been a big revelation in a recent study about the smartness of certain marine animals. Researchers opine that octopuses and squids are some of the smartest animals on the face of the earth for their ability to escape difficult situations.
According to The Washington Post, researchers have found that octopuses are evidently capable of escaping tricky situations. Some of them are even adaptive to body-contorting mimicry. There are instances of these cephalopods being able to escape closed glass jars that they have unscrewed from inside. They are also capable of solving certain other mechanical problems.
As per researchers, squids and octopuses don't follow the normal rules of genetic information. The RNA (Ribonucleic Acid) of these marine animals are extensively rewritten, say the researchers, which includes the protein found in the neurons of these cephalopods. The researchers' term this phenomenon that happens in the squids and octopuses to be extraordinarily different in characteristics.
Generally, the cells convert DNA sequences to RNA, which then gives rise to proteins. In very rare cases, cells edit RNA, inserting a molecule called inosine in place of another molecule named adenosine. The cephalopods surprisingly don't expel the edited sites, rather they make use of the RNA to generate new proteins. Researchers say that this type of RNA editing can allow a single octopus gene to produce an array of various proteins from the same DNA, instead of the usual method of a single gene producing a single kind of protein. This phenomenon is dubbed as recording.
According to Science Mag, the colder the habitat of the species, the more likely it is for the creature to make RNA edits. Researchers say that the Antarctic octopus is capable of editing its RNA at nine sites that change the amino acid sequence present in the potassium channel. The change in temperature in the aforementioned sites can exceed the potassium channel's closing speed, sometimes at the rate of more than double.
The researchers are hopeful that the study of these octopuses and squids can help to understand their process of adaptability to the environment. They also opine the study is capable of understanding the role of RNA editing in adaptation.