Don't freak out, but scientists think octopuses 'might be aliens' after DNA study
Not to send you into a meltdown or anything but octopuses are basically ‘aliens’ – according to scientists.
Researchers have found a new map of the octopus genetic code that is so strange that it could be actually be an “alien”.
The first whole cephalopod genome sequence shows a striking level of complexity with 33,000 protein-coding genes identified – more than in a human.
“The octopus appears to be utterly different from all other animals, even other molluscs, with its eight prehensile arms, its large brain and its clever problem-solving abilities,” said US researcher Dr Clifton Ragsdale, from the University of Chicago.
The scientists sequenced the genome of the California two-spot octopus in a study published in the journal Nature.
Analysis of 12 different tissues revealed hundreds of octopus-specific genes found in no other animal, many of them highly active in structures such as the brain, skin and suckers.
And although the genome is slightly smaller than a human’s, it is packed with more genes.
A gene is a region of DNA that contains the coded instructions for making a protein.
It was as if the octopus genome had been “put into a blender and mixed”, said co-author Caroline Albertin, also from the University of Chicago.