Don’t let their squishy forms fool you; cephalopods such as octopuses, cuttlefish, and squids can be incredibly smart. Now, scientists have discovered a potential lead on their intelligence: widespread editing of their RNA, particularly in their neurons, The Atlantic reports. This means that critters can have the same DNA, but use enzymes to change the nucleotide adenosine into inosine, allowing for different versions of proteins to be made from the same gene. Other species have a tiny amount of RNA editing, but it is orders of magnitude higher in some cephalopods, the researchers reported yesterday in Cell. They hypothesize it allows the animals to flexibly adapt to their environment despite their slowly changing genome.
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