The secret of octopus intelligence may lie in 'the same genes as humans'

Octopus is called '

superstar of invertebrate world ' because it has very high intelligence, and there are opinions that it is a candidate for the ruler of the earth after the destruction of human beings and that it is an alien from space. .. Research results have been reported that the cleverness of such an octopus may be due to the transposon , which is also a 'jumping gene' in the human brain.

Identification of LINE retrotransposons and long non-coding RNAs expressed in the octopus brain | BMC Biology | Full Text

Study: Same'Jumping Genes' are Active in Octopus and Human Brains |

Octopuses may be so terrifyingly smart because they share humans' genes for intelligence | Live Science

The octopus has eight tentacles with as many neurons as the brain, and the ganglia of each tentacle form a complex 'distributed network' that is independent and interconnected. To explore the secrets of this complexity, a team of Graziano Fiorito and colleagues at the Italian Institute of Biology, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, conducted a study to analyze genetic material in octopus cells.



As a result, we found transposons similar to humans in the brains of two types of octopus, the common octopus ( Octopus vulgaris) and the California two-spot octopus (Octopus bimaculoides) , which play important roles in cognitive function.

A transposon is a DNA sequence that moves from one place to another on the genome like copying and pasting or cutting and pasting, and is also called a 'jumping gene' because it moves like a jump.

For example, it is said that about 50% of the human genome of humans and about 90% of the genome of corn are transposons, but most of them have become non-functional due to repeated mutations during evolution and dormant without the ability to move. It is in a state. Most of the intact ones are blocked by the cell's defense mechanism.

However, there is a transposon called ' Long Interspersed Nuclear Elements (LINE)' that still has a function, and humans have about 100 LINEs . Traditionally, LINE has been thought to be a remnant of some function in the past, but recent research has shown that LINE is likely to be important for brain learning and hippocampal memory formation. I've been.

This LINE is also the transposon found in the brains of two types of octopus. Giovanna Ponte, one of the authors of the paper, said of the discovery of an active jump gene in the octopus's brain: When I found a strong signal of the LINE element in the part, I literally jumped up on the chair. '

'Octopus is a distant species from vertebrates, but it has been shown to have the same behavior and neuroplasticity as vertebrates, that is, its ability to change flexibly,' said Fiorito. Isn't it the origin of the ability to continuously adapt to the situation and solve problems? '

Since octopus and humans belong to completely different strains as living things, it is an example of convergent evolution that they have an active LINE transposon, and the intelligence of humans and octopus is not inherited from a common ancestor. The research team wrote in the paper that it shows that it was acquired by individual evolution rather than by individual evolution.

in Science,   Creature, Posted by log1l_ks