Why Do Octopuses, Squids And Cuttlefish Exceptionally Intelligent And Smart? A New Study Reveals

First Posted: Apr 07, 2017 03:20 AM EDT

Cephalopods such as octopuses, cuttlefish and squids are indeed smart and exceptionally intelligent than other mollusks. They could do many things that an individual could not ever think of for a cephalopod to do. These include unscrewing the glass jars, escape from the aquarium, play and even do body-contorting mimicry.

So, what are the secrets of these amazing spineless and many-legged creatures? A new study, which was printed in the journal Cell on Thursday, indicates that octopuses, cuttlefish and squids do not follow the normal rules of genetic information. Their RNA has been edited, especially the codes for proteins that are visible in the neurons of animals, according to The Washington Post.

Cephalopods utilize the tweaked RNA to produce new proteins. The RNA editing referred to as recoding could permit an octopus gene to generate several types of proteins from the same DNA.

Eli Eisenberg, a co-author of the study and an expert in RNA editing at Tel Aviv University, explained that recoding by editing efficiently produces a new protein sequence. This expands the protein repertoire at the organism's disposal.

In the previous study, Joshua Rosenthal, a neurobiologist at the Marine Biological laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and one of the authors of the new study, found that octopuses inhabiting the Antarctic used RNA editing to make their nerves active and firing in icy waters. Likewise, in the new study, the scientists found that octopuses, cuttlefish and squids frequently edit RNA in about one out of each two transcribed genes.

RNA editing in cephalopod genes is linked to nervous system functions. "It was making tweaks that really make a neuron a neuron," Rosenthal said. Some experts said that this could boost the brain functions of such cephalopods and expand their nervous system.

RNA referred to as ribonucleic acid together with DNA is a nucleic acid just like the proteins and carbohydrates. These are essential for all living organisms. RNA is compiled as a chain of nucleotides and of single-strand folded onto itself. Some of the molecules of RNA have a significant role within cells, in which they catalyze biological reactions, control gene expression or communicate responses to cellular signals.

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