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"First photosynthetic animal discovered...." Topic


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197 hits since 6 Jul 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2017 6:39 a.m. PST

Maybe the first big evolutionary jump since the earliest eukaryotes adopted bacteria to make the cell's power generation centers (mitochondria).

link

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2017 6:50 a.m. PST

I thought some Marvel superhero had that covered.
Sea Slug Man?

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2017 7:05 a.m. PST

Sea Slug Man?

Hmmm…..what would be his super power? Exhaling oxygen? Sounds lame enough to be a DC superhero, no? wink

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2017 7:38 a.m. PST

Aquaman can talk to fish, so…

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2017 7:40 a.m. PST

If I eat one of those, does it count as veggies too?

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2017 8:37 a.m. PST

So, if this slug is the first animal to steal genetic material from algae, what makes some water bears (tardigrades) green then?

Dan

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2017 8:38 a.m. PST

So the slug eats his favourite alga, V. litorea. It's poor digestive system allows it to harness full chloroplasts into it's energy system. Therefore, it benefits from photosynthesis.

However it gets weirder than that. Turns out the nuclear DNA of the slug contains parts of V. litorea nuclear DNA, ones that deal with photosynthesis. Therefore, the ability to photosynthesize, using "borrowed" chloroplasts, is an inheritable trait passed down to other generations. Perhaps these genes are controlling genes which turn on and turn off the functionality of the chloroplasts, depending on environments with low food availability.

This is Horizontal Gene Transfer, which occurs all the time with bacteria and viruses, but is rarer in eukaryotic lifeforms (but not unheard of).

link

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2017 8:44 a.m. PST

So, if this slug is the first animal to steal genetic material from algae, what makes some water bears (tardigrades) green then?

Well being green does not mean you are photosynthesizing. Tartigrades may be green (are they actually?) because they eat green algae and absorb the pigmentation (think flamingos becoming pinkish as they eat more canthaxanthin containing creatures).

Or they have adapted green pigmentation to camouflage themselves amongst green surroundings.

Or other reasons. Frogs are green but don't photosynthesize.

link

This sea slug does.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2017 8:58 a.m. PST

If I eat one of those, does it count as veggies too?

Seafood and veggies!

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2017 9:09 a.m. PST

Very interesting, but I don't agree with one of the first sentences.
The line between animal and plant has not in anyway been blurred. Given the rather large differences in cell anatomy.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2017 9:23 a.m. PST

@Bowman: "Well being green does not mean you are photosynthesizing. Tartigrades may be green (are they actually?) because they eat green algae and absorb the pigmentation (think flamingos becoming pinkish as they eat more canthaxanthin containing creatures).
Or they have adapted green pigmentation to camouflage themselves amongst green surroundings."

This is the genetic material transfer in tardigrades that I was talking about. It is from 2015, and I haven't read anything else on the matter.

link
link

Dan

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2017 10:53 a.m. PST

This is the genetic material transfer in tardigrades that I was talking about.

Ahh…..I see. The tardigrade can do Horizontal Gene Transfer. But it isn't the first that can. Neither is the Elysia Chlorotica. HGT has existed for billions of years and is still the most used technique for mixing and exchanging genetic information among different organisms. You asked why the water bears are green. Its not because of photosynthesis, regardless of how much DNA they contain from photosynthesizing organisms.

The "first", that is in question here, is an eukaryote utilizing chloroplasts made by other organisms for it's own energy generating needs. The genes for photosynthesis that are in the nuclear DNA of E. Chlorotica are probably to control the "borrowed" chloroplasts. It is the first plant animal hybrid.

This is somewhat similar to the endosymbiotic joining of prokaryotes to form a new life form…..the eukaryote. The creatures we all eventually evolved from.

Gunfreak makes a good point. However, the only "plant cells" not digested by E Chlorotica are the chloroplasts. And they also came from endosymbiosis of photosynthetic prokaryotes, about .6 billion years ago.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2017 11:02 a.m. PST

By the way, where do you see pictures of Tardigrades that show they are green? They look clear to me.

Here's one that just ate a salad:

picture

People even make stuffed ones:

picture

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2017 12:15 p.m. PST

Bowman,

Cute. It's been two years. I remembered them as being green.

But I did remember the transfer of genetic material. I knew that the slug wasn't the first one described as being able to do that.

Dan

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2017 1:33 p.m. PST

I knew that the slug wasn't the first one described as being able to do that.

Yep, bacteria had a BIG start on that.

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