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Top News: Are octopuses alien? New idea argues Earth was 'seeded' by interstellar genetic code

Octopuses are bizarre. This isn’t simply because they give the impression of being odd. It’s not as a result of they’re disturbingly sensible. It’s as a result of they’ve a wierd energy.

The flexibility to edit their very own our bodies. This has biologists scratching their heads.

Evolution doesn’t work that method. It’s imagined to be spurred by genetic mutations — a change in DNA — that proves to be useful to the host.

So how may a creature evolve in such a method as to permit them to rebuild themselves?

Now a brand new prepare of thought has emerged.

They didn’t. A minimum of, not right here. As a substitute — it’s a complicated organic capability that got here from outer house.

THE KRAKEN WAKES

In April final 12 months, researchers discovered octopuses — and a few of their cuttlefish and squid cousins — commonly edit their RNA.

This units them aside from the remainder of the animal world.

RNA, like DNA, data genetic code. However the place DNA is a double-stranded molecule, RNA consists of only one strand. Its position inside our physique is to transmit genetic info to set off the manufacturing of proteins.

However some scientists really feel RNA could have been the unique DNA, appearing because the everlasting storehouse of genetic code amongst Earth’s earliest organisms.

On the subject of cephalopods just like the frequent squid, researchers have discovered that as much as 60 p.c of the RNA in its nervous system had been edited after it was programmed by DNA. These adjustments tailored its mind to shifting temperatures in it ocean habitat.

Final 12 months, it was found two species of octopus and one in every of cuttlefish does the identical factor — routinely.

“This reveals that prime ranges of RNA modifying … (is) an invention of the coleoid cephalopods,” US Marine Organic Laboratory researcher Joshua Rosenthal mentioned.

How this capability is triggered, or managed, isn’t but recognized.

“It may very well be one thing so simple as temperature adjustments or as difficult as expertise, a type of reminiscence,” Rosenthal says.

However the capability to reshape physiologies on the fly has come at a value.

Coleoids aren’t evolving a lot.

This may very well be as a result of the drive isn’t there: They’ve discovered modifying RNA is solution to adapt to — and survive — change. So their DNA doesn’t want to alter.

“The conclusion right here is that so as to preserve this flexibility to edit RNA, the coleoids have had to surrender the flexibility to evolve within the surrounding areas — loads,” Rosenthal wrote.

PANSPERMIA THEORY

The origin of life on Earth is without doubt one of the hardest nuts for science to crack. We all know a lot of the chemistry concerned. However not the circumstances that brings all of it collectively right into a dwelling being.

There’s nonetheless a niche in our understanding massive sufficient for gods and different extraordinary concepts to suit inside.

Similar to panspermia.

It’s the concept that life right here started on the market — with scatterings of natural molecules carrying their pre-programmed codes for all times throughout the gulf of time and house.

Proof is missing.

However the concept is being examined.

Now a peer-reviewed article printed within the science journal Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology is stirring the origins-of-life pot.

The current Rosetta mission to Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko confirmed natural molecules that kind the premise of sugars and amino acids had been dusted amongst its mounds and valleys of frozen ice.

It’s not life.

However these supplies are the constructing blocks of DNA.

The brand new report, Reason behind Cambrian Explosion — Terrestrial or Cosmic?, argues that our existence isn’t based mostly on these interplanetary constructing blocks alone.

As a substitute, it builds up the concept that our biochemistry has been contaminated by influences from past our personal planet.

The authors argue {that a} cloud of natural materials possible rained down upon the Earth about 500 million years in the past. And that modified the whole lot.

ALIEN IMPACT

The Cambrian Explosion is definitely mysterious. It was a time period the place life on Earth diversified dramatically, and quickly.

It’s an occasion which occurred shortly after the emergence of retroviruses in the environment.

It was particularly dramatic for a sort of mollusk referred to as a cephalopod. Tentacles reached out from their shells and wove their method into huge number of creatures which ultimately grew to become the octopus, cuttlefish and squid we all know right this moment.

“We consider this coincidence isn’t fortuitous however is per a key prediction … whereby main extinction-diversification evolutionary boundaries coincide with virus-bearing cometary-bolide bombardment occasions,” the examine’s summary reads.

This concept is that space-borne retroviruses ultimately discovered their solution to the Earth’s floor earlier than attaching themselves to dwelling organisms. As soon as there, they reprogrammed the creatures’ evolution.

“A second focus is the outstanding evolution of clever complexity (Cephalopods) culminating within the emergence of the Octopus,” the examine reads.

“A 3rd focus considerations the microorganism fossil proof contained inside meteorites in addition to the detection within the higher environment of obvious incoming life-bearing particles from house.”

The paper argues the space-based switch of life was possible on a bigger scale than simply retroviruses. Complete units of frozen genetic materials had been solid about on the stellar winds earlier than splashing down in our oceans.

Right here, they thawed.

“Thus the likelihood that cryopreserved squid and/or octopus eggs, arrived in icy bolides a number of hundred million years in the past shouldn’t be discounted,” the examine reads.

Subsequently, octopuses are aliens.

It’s fascinating conjecture. It’s an concept that matches the circumstances. However concrete proof is but to be produced. The concept is but to be examined.

However it’s tantalizing. 

“Life could have been seeded right here on Earth by life-bearing comets as quickly as circumstances on Earth allowed it to flourish (about or simply earlier than 4.1 Billion years in the past); and dwelling organisms comparable to space-resistant and space-hardy micro organism, viruses, extra advanced eukaryotic cells, fertilized ova and seeds have been repeatedly delivered ever since to Earth so being one vital driver of additional terrestrial evolution which has resulted in appreciable genetic range and which has led to the emergence of mankind.”

This story initially appeared in information.com.au.

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