Thursday, January 14, 2010
Photosynthetic Sea Slug
Presenting Elysia chlorotica, a photosynthetic sea slug. This slimy critter is the first known multicellular animal to harness the power of photosynthesis. A team of scientists from the University of Maine lead by Mary Rumpho were astonished to discover that the algae eating E. chlorotica not only steals its food's chloroplasts (photosynthetic cells) but also the DNA sequence necessary to keep them functioning. A feat in itself but the leaf-shaped sea slug does not stop there, they also found evidence that the stolen DNA could then be passed on to the next generation. Is this the begging of the next generation of organisms? The solution to world hunger? Unfortunately, even if we wanted it with all our hearts, no vegetarian or vegan diet out there will allow humans to gain access to the wealth of the suns power through our stomachs,"[o]ur digestive tract just chews all that stuff up - the chloroplasts and the DNA" Rumpho was quick to clarify to NewScientist's journalist. There is much to discover about our neighbours in the sea.
Interested? Read more about it on msnbc.com and NewScientist.com.
Oh well, I guess there is no need to worry about matching our wardrobe to the green hue of our skin anytime soon