A new study published earlier this week revealed an incredible property which has, until now, only been observed in squids, octopuses, and cuttlefish. These three species seem to be able to be able to modify their RNA whenever they want to. However, this option does come with a cost.
Research results on the matter were released in the Cell journal on April 06th. Previous studies have shown that squids and octopuses are very intelligent creatures. They are part, just as the cuttlefish, of the cephalopods family, more exactly, of the coeloids, one of their subclasses.
Squids, Octopuses, And Cuttlefish Can Change Their RNA At The Detriment Of Evolution
According to this latest study, both octopuses and their relatives can make extensive use of their RNA editing abilities. For example, research showed that, in a squid’s brain, more than 60 percent of the RNA transcripts are actually recorded by editing. In contrast, in humans, this process accounts for no more than 1 percent. The ability is very rare among animals as well. Except for the coleoid cephalopods, apparently.
“With these cephalopods, this is not the exception. This is the rule. The rule is that most of the proteins are being edited.” This is according to Eli Eisenberg, a Tel Aviv University biophysicist and study co-author.
RNA editing is a process which can alter the nature of the proteins produced by the respective body. As it is, this process doesn’t require any DNA instruction changes. This latter is a common element in most of the living species. They have to change the DNA code in order to read out and modify the proteins.
However, RNA editing does come with its countereffects. More exactly, the squids, octopuses, and cuttlefish’ genomic DNA evolution seems to be stunted by this other feature. More exactly, their evolutionary process is happening at a slower pace. Still, the research will have to study and answer more questions on the matter.
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