Study: Sea Anemone is genetically half-animal and half-plant

The scientists from the University of Vienna discovered that sea anemones, the water-dwelling predatory creatures, are technically half plant and half animal. Before this research, sea anemones are classified as animals.

As per the new research, Sea Anemones

  • An oddball: half-plant and half-animal (at least when it comes to its genetic code).
  • Sea creature’s genes look more like those of animals, but the regulatory code that determines whether those genes are expressed resembles that in plants.
  • More similar to plants rather to vertebrates or insects in their regulation of gene expression by short regulatory RNAs called microRNAs.
  • Shows a complex landscape of gene regulatory elements similar to the fruit fly or other model animals.
  • This suggests that this principle of complex gene regulation was already present in the common ancestor of human, fly and sea anemone some 600 million years ago.

In other words, the study shows that the sea anemone shows a genomic landscape surprisingly similar to human genome, but also displays regulatory mechanisms similar to plants.

About Sea Anemone

  • Kingdom: Animalia.
  • Phylum: Cnidaria.
  • Class: Anthozoa.
  • Bright colours and daisy-like shape.
  • Flowers of the sea. Despite their pretty looks, they are predatory animals, using their stinging tentacles to catch their prey.
  • Life span: Approx 60-80 years.

Note: The study published Tuesday in the journal Genome Research.

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Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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