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Sea Slug + Algae

“Importantly, this is one of the only known examples of functional gene transfer from one multicellular species to another, which is the goal of gene therapy to correct genetically based diseases in humans.”

This is brilliant, sea slug uses gene from algae to live like a plant! Researchers from  The Marine Biological Laboratory have found that a gene on the chromosome of a green sea slug heritage from the algae it eats. This discovery has made the picture clearer of how sea slugs are able to live like a plant for longer periods by getting the nourishments they need from the sun. It has long been known that sea slugs heists chloroplasts (parts of cells that drives the photosynthesis) from algae which they store in its own digestive cells. Once inside the sea slug cells, the chloroplasts continue to photosynthesize for up to 9 months – much longer than they would perform in the alga. And how the slug manages to maintain these chloroplasts for such a long time has been a mystery for the researchers up to now. This study confirms that one of the several algal genes needed to repair damages chloroplasts to keep them functioning, is present on the slug chromosome. Read more about the method and results here

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