Designer Genes: Sea Slug Acquires Plant DNA?


Just Don't Smoke It.

News from the University of South Florida at Tampa reveals that the sea slug, Elysia chlorotica, may have acquired its shiny green coat by more than random mutation, Wired reports. Dr. Sidney Pierce, a professor for their Department of Integrative Biology, who studied the hybrid creature, ran a radioactive tracer through the little bugger and determined that the slug wasn’t just utilizing chlorophyll from the algae it eats, but it seems to have developed the ability to produce the photosynthesizing pigment on its own. According to the research, the first meal after birth for the slug is, of course, of delicious algae, which the slug breaks down in digestion, but not completely.

It leaves the chloroplasts alone, incorporating the plant functions into its fleshy form. After that initial meal, the slug no longer has to ingest anything ever again. This is big news in the animal world, being the first documented instance of genetic-crossing between multi-celled organisms (single-celled organisms have an easy time swapping DNA). Being a sci-fi nerd, and a futurist, this has got my neurons pulsing with the possibilities of cracking this ability and breeding it in humans:

No more starvation – people can just step outside to get a quick meal. PETA would be pleased with the dissolution of slaughterhouses. A day at the beach would substitute the buffet. It does bear to mind a question though: would those crispy-looking a-holes on Jersey Shore be considered gluttons?



Filed under Celebrities, Nature, News, Science

3 responses to “Designer Genes: Sea Slug Acquires Plant DNA?

  1. Hello, how are you doing? I really like your blog! I was wondering if u might help me (I am positive other readers might also be curious). I want to get involved in writing a blog also and I currently use a blog with wordpress, but it is quite difficult for me to create and I would very much like to attempt to find some decent training materials or courses (preferably free) that can hopefully assist me in making use of Word Press correctly. As a word press site owner yourself, do you maybe know where i can learn tutorials to be able to do this? Thanks!

    • Hi there Valene,

      I use the online version of WordPress to blog and I find it very intuitive and easy-to-use, so much so that I’ve never gone through a tutorial to pick it up. However, there are many resources, including WordPress’ own website and there are several videos that help one with many aspects of utilizing WordPress.

      I hope this has been helpful and informative, let me know if you need any other help!


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