Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Green Sea Slug Is Part Animal, Part Plant

Now this is cool - an animal that doesn't just host microbes inside it (like pretty much any animal does - look at the normal flora of your intestine as an example) or just have special places to hold them (such as coral does), but this is an animal that eats algae, preserves the chloroplast organelles in the cells in its own digestive system and then - and this is the amazing part - has taken on some of the photosynthetis-related genes from the algae it eats and can produce its own chlorophyll to feed these chloroplasts!

Sure, gene exchange like this happens a lot in the microscopic world, but this is the first example of it that we've seen in the macroscopic world. 

Nature truly is awesome enough that there's no need for superstition and mythology to try and hide its awesome awesomeness.  Awesome!  ;)  (Of course, the Flying Spaghetti Monster isn't mythology - he says he's real, so he's real.  That's totally different.)


The Outspoken Wookie

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