Cephalopods Can Rewrite RNA Genes To Produce Proteins That Raise Intelligence [VIDEO]By Anne Collins, UniversityHerald Reporter
Scientists' new discovery has proven that an octopus can edit their own genes. The magnificent eight-legged creatures and other cephalopods including squid and cuttlefish are well-known for their intelligence and having a different rule of genetic information. The creatures have the ability to complete complex tasks, solve puzzles, use tools, escape from aquariums, open jars and mimic environments.
The study was published in the journal Cell. The researchers pointed out the difference between RNA and DNA. DNA is the blueprint of genetic instructions that has been established at conception. RNA is what translates that design into the building of the body.
When the DNA tells the body to produce certain proteins, the RNA is what makes it happens. However, there are times that RMA may rebel and edited by enzymes to produce a different protein than the one dictated by the DNA, Techly reported.
RNA editing in mammals was discovered 25 years ago. Cephalopods used their tweaked RNA to generate new proteins. One reason may be survival, where in a previous study it discovered the octopus use RNA editing to keep bodies warm in freezing cold waters.
Another idea is they do it to get smarter. CDA News reported that Eli Eisenberg, co-author of the study and an expert on RNA editing from Tel Aviv University said the RNA recoding offered tantalizing hints toward the hypothesis that extensive recoding may have contributed to the octopus' exceptional intelligence.
RNA gives cephalopods more flexibility but the downside is they are trading off the classic hardwired evolutionary method of change by mutation. The study suggested that RNA editing may be better short term and DNA mutation seem to favor life in the long run.
Cephalopods live fast and die young. They usually lead solitary lives and figure things out for themselves. RNA editing helped them gain more knowledge about environmental adaptability.