The first genetically modified squid are born transparent after scientists “release” a pigmentation gene in embryos that controls the color of eye and skin cells
- Scientists genetically modified a squid embryo for the first time in history
- The pigmentation gene team in Doryteuthis pealeii, makes it transparent
- This allows researchers to study the creature’s unique system
For the first time in history, scientists genetically altered squid squid embryos by removing a pigmentation gene that resulted in transparent creatures.
The team used CRISPR-Cas9 to ‘release’ the gene in Doryteuthis pealeii and then eliminate the color from the eyes and skin cells.
The procedure involved cutting off the hard outer layer of the egg with a micro-scissors and administering the reagents inside the embryo.
Cephalopods, which include squid, octopus and cuttlefish, have been a mystery to researchers, as their nervous systems can be hidden – but innovation must “address a number of biological questions.”
For the first time in history, scientists genetically altered squid squid embryos by removing a pigmentation gene that resulted in transparent creatures. The team used CRISPR-Cas9 to ‘release’ the pigmentation genes in Doryteuthis pealeii and then eliminate the color from the eyes and skin cells.
Cephalopods have the largest brain of all invertebrates, a nervous system that is capable of camouflaging itself and the special ability to recall their own genetic information in its messenger’s RNA – and of course, they all have rare characteristics and interesting.
Scientists have long attempted to discover the secrets of these creatures, but have failed because of their inability to guide their structures – so far.
Joshua Rosenthal, a researcher at the University of Chicago at the affiliated Marine Biological Laboratory in Chicago, told NPR: “They have evolved these great minds and this sophistication into completely independent behavior.”
“It provides an opportunity to compare us and see what elements are common, and what elements are unique.”
Cephalopods, which include squid, octopus and cuttlefish, have been a mystery to researchers, as their nervous systems can be hidden – but innovation must “address a number of biological questions”
Rosenthal and his team began their journey by first donating the CRISPR-Cas system to the single-cell embryo.
However, they met the first challenge, as it is surrounded by a hard layer that protects the embryo until it is ready to hatch.
The team designed a special pair of micro-scissors to clip the egg surface and use a quartz needle to deliver the CRISPR-Cas9 reagents.
The genetically modified squid, which look similar to the outsiders of this world, were born completely transparent with clear, full eyes.
A scientist shared a separate crack earlier this year involving the mysterious giant squid.
Scientists have published the entire genome sequence of the squid of the giants, which shows a hint at the creature’s high intelligence.
An international research team found that their genes are very similar to other animals – with a genome size not far behind that of humans.
The squid, Architeuthius dux, has eyes as large as dinner plates and tentacles that catch prey from 10 yards away.
Its average length is about 33 feet – about the size of a medium-sized school bus.
The photos are unchanged, adult Doryteuthis pealeii, often called the Woods Hole squid
But these legendary creatures are notoriously elusive and their rare appearances make them difficult to study.
Now an international team of researchers has fully designed the genome of the species to answer key evolutionary questions.
They discovered that the giant squid genome has an estimated 2.7 billion base pairs of DNA – the chemical compounds connected on opposite sides of DNA strands.
That’s about 90 percent of the size of the human genome – we have about 3 billion.
While genome size is not necessarily equal to intelligence, it can hint at characteristics such as cell division rate, body size, growth rate and even extinction risk.