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Biotech Science

Octopus Genome Sequenced 43

An anonymous reader writes: A large, international team of researchers has completed the full sequencing of the octopus genome. "The researchers discovered striking differences between the genomes of the octopus and other invertebrates, including widespread rearrangements of genes and a dramatic expansion of a family of genes involved in neuronal development that was once thought to be unique to vertebrates." Among other things, the data allows scientists to more deeply analyze the creature's unique nervous system. "The central brain surrounds the esophagus, which is typical of invertebrates, but it also has groups of neurons in the arms that can work relatively autonomously, plus huge optic lobes involved in vision." Their study has been published in Nature.
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Octopus Genome Sequenced

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  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Friday August 14, 2015 @03:07PM (#50318691) Homepage Journal

    Fiddlesticks! If I had 8 legs I'd have got me a frost pots.

    What's the correct plural of octopus, by the way? [gets out popcorn]

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      I personally like octopi because it sounds like cacti.

    • I've read "Octopodes" before from someone who knows and cares more about that sort of thing than I do, but I usually use "Octopi" because more people understand it.

      • Octopodes is correct since octopus has a Greek root. If it were a Latin root then octopi would be correct.

        • If we were speaking Greek or Latin, that would be true. Scientific names mix Greek and Latin and don't really follow. From Wiki:

          The usual plural in English is "octopuses" (pronounced /.../), but the Greek plural form "octopodes" (pronounced /.../) is sometimes used, though less frequently than in the past. The form "octopi", as if the word were a Latin second-declension noun, is generally considered incorrect, but is in fact used.

          • Translation: stop pretending there are actual 'rules' of English, instead of guidelines, guesses, exceptions, and people making shit up as they go which often runs contrary to several other things.

            English isn't Greek, and it isn't Latin.

            The 'correct' way to do something English is seldom anything more than convention.

    • Octopussy ?

    • "What's the correct plural of octopus, by the way?

      Your mom's sex life? ;-)

    • What's the correct plural of octopus, by the way? [gets out popcorn]

      Calamari. ;-)

      • Actually, that's squid.

        But properly prepared octopus is yummy! Too bad "properly prepared" means you have to beat the damn thing against a rock for half an hour and then grill it until it's toast.

        But it is indeed yummy!

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Friday August 14, 2015 @03:11PM (#50318707) Homepage
    The stronger and better a creature, the less need for it to be intelligent.

    An octopus developed it's high intelligence as a by product of learning how to use so many arms. But simply because it was more efficient to put the neurons in the arms, it makes it harder to steal those neurons to use for other purposes and allow those arms to vesitgilize, the way homonids vestigialized our jaw muscles, freeing up the skull for brains rather than muscles and bone.

    • by The Real Dr John ( 716876 ) on Friday August 14, 2015 @06:14PM (#50319723) Homepage

      The strangest thing is how the research shows that convergent evolution works even with distantly related organisms. The octopus eye is an exact copy of our camera type eye, but it evolved in mollusks (including clams) completely independently from birds and mammals. The only major difference is that mammal's and bird's eyes have the retina "inverted" with the rod and cone receptors at the back of the retina, furthest from the light source. In octopi, the retina is what you would expect, with the photo-receptors in the outer layer of the retina where the light hits first. Now we find out that many neural development genes are similar to mammals, even though they must have gotten to the same evolutionary conclusion via their own route. It makes you think that genes have limited ways to evolve that will actually work in practice, so only those organisms that come up with the correct genetic solutions to a problem do really well.

  • Sharktopus!
  • by Dutchmaan ( 442553 ) on Friday August 14, 2015 @04:05PM (#50319057) Homepage
    We'll build the octopus of your dreams!
  • When they did this, were they able to sort out which octopodes were expressing extreme fatherly tendencies, combined with elaborate camouflage meant to disguise the number of limbs?

    Can the scientists help these particular specimens walk with a more natural gait without getting tentacles stuck to everything?
  • While for the most part Genes of the same species are the same, some form "individual" combination.
    In case of an octopus, how do we know, which parts are common, and which reflect poor beast's "personality"?

Every little picofarad has a nanohenry all its own. -- Don Vonada

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