If we are looking for alien life, then maybe we should check our own backyard, well, our oceans at least. A recent discovery suggests that octopuses might be aliens. It’s interesting to understand why this statement is true.
Researchers from the University of Chicago have discovered that the octopus genetic code is unlike any other. It is strange, to say the least, that cephalopods have a huge variety of 33,000 protein-coding genes. This is more than human genes.
Genes are what’s responsible for the development of proteins. There are “jumping genes” contained in the octopus DNA. This DNA is shuffled in arrangement – no organization what so ever. The reshuffling of genes, for the octopus, is key to the creature’s creation. The genes of most species are structure and paired close together on the helix while in the octopus they are random and detailed. In other words, there are no genes with related functions.
To see how this works, let’s take a look at so-called hox genes which determine the way the body moves. In most creatures, the hox genes are clustered close together. In the octopus, they are scattered throughout the genome.
Dr. Clifton Ragsdale of the University of Chicago said:
“The octopus is different from all other animals, even mollusks. It has eight prehensile arms, a large brain and clever problem-solving abilities.”
The Two-Spot Octopus
In the journal, Nature, the researchers sequenced the DNA of the California two-spot octopus. They discovered special genetic traits responsible for evolution’s role in forming adaptive camouflage and extraordinary nervous system. This octopus’s genome is slightly smaller than its human counterpart but much more detailed and varied. There are 2.7 billion base pairs of genes with long sequences inside the two-spot octopus. By analyzing 12 tissues, hundreds of specific octopus genes were revealed. These genes governed the development of the octopus’s brain, suckers and skin.
While they seem rather ordinary, considering we have known about them our entire lifetime, octopuses also seem strange and misplaced. Could it be that aliens have been with us all along?
British Zoologist Martin Wells said,
“The octopus is an alien. We have the first sequenced genome from an alien.”
They may not be little green men or telescopic ameba, but they are something to ponder. Who knows, maybe the octopus can lead us to find other alien beings.