Cuttlefish, squid, and octopus are infamous for the complexity of their behaviors. They hide from predators, for example, using instantaneous camouflage of the flesh, and they have been known to unlock aquarium tanks.
A new study suggests their series of adaptations toward neural sophistication involves prolific RNA editing that is unique in the animal kingdom. The significance of this study's conclusion is that prolific RNA editing is believed to occur instead of the evolution of genomic DNA.
The study was led by Joshua J.C.Rosenthal from the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole and Noa Liscovitch-Brauer and Eli Eisenberg, both from Tel Aviv University.It was published this week in Cell.
The research is based on previous discoveries of squid exemplifying superb rates of RNA editing and builds on that already substantiated observation.This pertains more to nervous system cells than any others.
The present study found lots of RNA editing in three other smart species and tens of thousands of recoding sites in the RNA of the cephalopods.These recoding sites are called coleoid.
Rosenthal said, "The conclusion here is that in order to maintain this flexibility to edit RNA, the coleoids have had to give up the ability to evolve in the surrounding regions—a lot. Mutation is usually thought of as the currency of natural selection, and these animals are suppressing that to maintain recoding flexibility at the RNA level."