Thursday 6 June 2019

Could jumping genes produce some cryptids?

Thoughts on Cryptid evolution part two.
This recent article caught my attention:

‘Jumping’ genes let fish move from sea to fresh water
One of the most important omega-3s is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an essential compound for animal health. DHA is abundant in marine ecosystems but is scarce in freshwater environments. In saltwater, various algae that comprise the diet of fish produce DHA, but it can also be manufactured in small amounts by fish themselves.Given how necessary DHA is, how then do marine fish species colonise freshwater ecosystems – something that has happened repeatedly over evolutionary history?Lead author Asano Ishikawa of the National Institute of Genetics and the Graduate University for Advanced Studies (SOKENDAI), in Shizuoka, Japan and a team of international scientists set out to discover the answer.
The team noted that the marine fish known as the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) had successfully colonised freshwater habitats many times and in many continents over its evolutionary past.
Intriguingly, jumping genes, known more properly as transposons, might be the cause of the repetition of Fads2 in the genome of the three-spined stickleback and thus their ability to adapt to freshwater habitats.Transposons, say Jesse N. Weber and Wenfei Tong of the University of Alaska, in the US, “are repetitive sequences that can insert themselves, and any DNA in between them, into other parts of the genome”.This metabolic gene then, might be one of the key elements that has facilitated the adaptive radiation of fish species from marine to freshwater habitats.

If some marine  creatures can change to be freshwater creatures could this mean there may be fresh water Octopii? The Oklahoma Octopus creature springs to mind. It has always been thought that it could not exist as fresh water octopii are unknown but perhaps this species had the jumping genes  to adapt?

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