In the murky depths of the ocean live some of the smartest and most unusual creatures to inhabit the earth. Octopuses are known for their sucker covered tentacles and chameleon-like abilities to change color, pattern and shape to blend it with their environment. The changes aren’t limited to just their appearance. A new study published in Cell reveals that they can change their brains as well (1). The study found that octopuses recode their brain in response to environmental temperature changes using RNA editing.Continue reading “Octopuses Use RNA Editing to Transiently Change Their Proteins When They Get Cold”
In a Letter in Nature magazine last week (August 13, 2015), researchers published surprising findings from a genome analysis of the octopus. As a result, we now know that this invertebrate has more than just behavioral oddities with which to amaze.
In their publication, C. Albertin et al. report the results of genome sequencing of the California two-spot octopus, Octopus bimaculoides. They did not find the predicted whole-genome duplication, but rather an unexpectedly large genome with many rearrangements, and two gene family expansions that were previously thought to exist only in vertebrates.
Albertin et al. sequenced the O. bimaculoides genome using a whole-genome shotgun approach, and then annotated it using extensive transcriptome sequences from 12 tissues. They estimate that the genome assembly incorporated 97% of protein-coding sequences, and 83% of the entire 2.7gigabase genome. The remaining sequence was composed largely of repetitive elements. Continue reading “Sequencing the Octopus Genome: Invertebrate Intelligence Explained?”