Mar 8, 2023
Squids can edit their genes to rapidly adjust to temperature swings.
A new study published in December 2022 found out that some cephalopods can change their genetic material to withstand temperature changes.

Squids, being cold-blooded animals, cannot control their internal body temperature. To be able to survive in a vast range of temperatures and environments some cephalopods tweak their RNA to adjust to waters that would otherwise be too cold or too hot. A study by Rangan and colleagues investigated how the California market squid (Doryteuthis opalescens) hatchlings altered their RNA when placed in waters at different temperatures. Researchers from the study found that hatchling put in 6°C water for a day edited their RNA in a different way and to a greater extent compared to ones placed in 20°C water.

Cephalopods, other than having a very unique morphology and having three hearts, are known to extensively edit their RNA. Some species were already known to be able to edit their RNA to create proteins different than the ones inscribed in the DNA. This ability of squids to make short-term changes to their RNA instead of permanent alterations in their DNA confers a greater flexibility to adjust to changing water temperatures.

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