'Octopuses are aliens' say scientists

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Scientists studing the DNA of octopuses have concluded that they are so different from any other animal, they are basically aliens.

Researchers studying the California two-spot octopus, Octopus bimaculoides discovered striking differences from other invertebrates, including widespread genomic rearrangements and a dramatic expansion of a family of genes involved in neuronal development that was once thought to be unique to vertebrates. Hundreds of octopus-specific genes were identified, with many highly expressed in structures such as the brain, skin and suckers.

Dr Clifton Ragsdale, from the University of Chicago, and co-senior author of the paper published in Nature, said: "The octopus appears to be utterly different from all other animals, even other molluscs, with its eight prehensile arms, its large brain and its clever problem-solving abilities.

"The late British zoologist Martin Wells said the octopus is an alien. In this sense, then, our paper describes the first sequenced genome from an alien."

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The researchers discovered striking differences from other invertebrates, including widespread genomic rearrangements and a dramatic expansion of a family of genes involved in neuronal development that was once thought to be unique to vertebrates. Hundreds of octopus-specific genes were identified, with many highly expressed in structures such as the brain, skin and suckers. - See more at: http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2015/08/13/landmark-sequencing-octopus-genome-shows-basis-intelligence-camouflage?utm_source=newsmodule#sthash.V60cW9nK.dpuf