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Giant squid genome map offers some surprises re its giant brain

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Not much is known about the giant squid but here’s some of what mapping its genome has shown, including the surprising presence of brain-associated protocadherins:

“For a long time, we thought that having a lot of protocadherins was only found in vertebrates, so we were really surprised when we found more than 160 of them in the octopus genome,” said Albertin, in reference to her 2015 paper on the subject. “We have found an expansion of protocadherins in the giant squid as well, which has the largest invertebrate brain. We don’t yet know what they are doing, but it could be a clue to how you make a complicated brain,” she told Gizmodo.

Most of the genes seen in the giant squid are shared with other animals, like octopuses, snails, worms, flies, and humans, so this genome will now serve as an important reference point for scientists when comparing it to other cephalopods and animals, and for studying the giant squid’s unique features, said Albertin.

George Dvorsky, “Newly Sequenced Giant Squid Genome Raises as Many Questions as It Answers” at Gizmodo

Apparently, the giant squid don’t owe their large size to whole genome duplication, a strategy used by some other types of life forms.

Still a long way to go unpacking it all.


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