California, Woods Hole, Researcher discussed on Science Friday
Having webbed arms or slash tentacles fornse onto owns in. They shoot viscous fluid instead of ink in the have some bioluminescence parts on their head crate, my neck. My next guest is also. Oh, a big fan, she's looking at the genomes of these alien like creatures. She started with the California to spotted octopus in two thousand fifteen and is continuing to look for patterns in the genes of cephalopods that might explain both their weirdness and their success in surviving their ocean habitats tactic carry Albertine, a fillet cephalopod researcher at the marine biological lab in woods hole. Welcome to science Friday. Thanks so much IRA, happy to be here. Nice to have you starting with that. I post genome, back in two thousand fifteen. What are we finding out about cephalopods from their DNA? Well, we've uncovered all sorts of things that we didn't expect to find. So genome contains all of the information you need to make an animal, and before we'd been looking for genes that we knew to look for genes that are available and other animal genomes, and by sequencing the genome of an octopus. We could find out not only. What genes they had that were in common with flies and mice and us? But also what genes they have that are completely unique to them? And so that's uncomfortable a whole realms of new biology that we didn't even know to look for before we seek with. No, we, we know how smart there, especially the octopus. Is there anything in their jeans that explains their intelligence or the really complex nervous system? Yet, you know, we went in kind of expecting to find a whole bunch of different kinds of genes in there. And one of the really surprising things we found when we looked in the genome of octopus by Mackey D's is they had a family of genes, these are called protocol hearings, and these are genes that help sell stick together and they're only found up until then they'd only been found in animals, like us with a backbone and they are important in wiring. Big complicated nervous systems like our nervous systems. And so we were really surprised to find them in the octopus genome, because they're not available in the. The normal model organisms that people study like fruit flies, or nematodes, that don't have backbones. And so this was a complete and utter surprise. The, the octopus a good area for research them to learn about Louis. Absolutely. What else can I fill us in on what else exciting discoveries you've made about? Well, you know, so one of the things that we found very that cephalopods have these really, really large genomes. They're about the same size as our genome. And so this is a lot bigger than the genomes of fruit flies, or nematodes. So our genome is about three point two billion base pairs and octopus genome is about two point seven billion, and that's kind of a hard number to understand so to kind of put it in perspective. That's about a thousand times, the number of letters that are in Warren piece all contained in each and every cell in these animals. And so they have these big complicated genomes, but many of the genes that they have in there are shared across different animals. So they're surprisingly similar to us in addition, like I mentioned earlier, they have whole suites of genes that are unique. To Seth la- pods. Some of these genes create your dozens UC in their skin. And in the last couple of years, we've had some more cephalopod genomes come out, including the genome of the Hawaiian bobtail squid, and we see that squid sometimes have different sets of genes, and even octopuses. So in some squids, they have a family of genes, for example, that are on the ring teeth, the suckering teeth just on the tentacles so octopus is don't have tentacles. They have eight arms squid have eight arms plus two tentacles, and these tentacles have specialized ring teeth and they have this kind of plastic, he kind of feeling to them, and they're made by a completely novel protein, family. What about them being smart that they have a lot of nervous system genes in? Absolutely. They have a kind of similar numbers to the, the numbers that we have in terms of neuronal genes that are important in acts on acts on function..