Everything about the mysterious giant squid Architeuthis dux is huge, according tomedia CNET. It’s the size of a school bus, its eyes are about the size of a plate, and its tentacles can grab prey from 30 feet (9 meters) away. This legendary sea beast has long been a fear of humanity, but first how did it become so great? A new study may soon provide the answer, revealing the genome secrets of the cephalopod.
“The genome is the first step in answering biological questions about these very strange animals,” Caroline Albertin, a scientist at the University of Chicago, said in a press release. These questions include how giant squid get the most brains in invertebrates and how they become so agile and skilled.
“Although cephalopods have many complex and refined characteristics, they are thought to evolve independently of vertebrates,” Albertin said in a press release. By comparing their genomes, we can ask: ‘Are cephalopods and vertebrates constructed the same way or in different ways?’ ‘”
While the discovery of the genome may answer some questions, it raises more questions in the near term. A key finding in the study shows how the size-driven gene of giant squid runs counter to patterns found in important developmental genes in almost all other animals. This means that the giant squid’s size is not achieved through genome-wide replication. It also means scientists need to do more to explore the mysterious size of giant squid.
Even so, Albertin says, having a giant squid genome is an important step in helping scientists understand how to make these animals cephalopods. It could also help scientists understand how new genes emerged in evolution and development.