Animals and photosynthesis: how to survive through plant DNA?

Imagine that a person completely abandoned his usual food, ceased to absorb various goodies and now just uses sunlight as a source of energy as an ordinary plant - it's not easy.

But how much would a man have done in his life without losing more time to buy, cook and eat organic food. Surely all the free time would go to something more useful and enjoyable.

Not so long ago, scientists from the Marine Biological Laboratory in America found out an interesting fact about the brilliant green sea slug, the shape of which is similar to a leaf of a plant and is fed by sunlight, but in fact it is a representative of the animal world.

Sea slug Elysia chlorotica, stealing algae DNA.

This slug has a bright color due to the DNA of algae, which absorbs as food. Sidney C. Pierce, a professor at South Florida University, states: "It is completely impossible that algae DNA can act inside an animal cell. But however, this happens. And it is they that enable the animal to feed in sunlight." Scientists say that, if desired, people could use this mechanism.

The shape of the sea slug is very similar to a plant leaf.

Apparently, the evolution of man and animals went the wrong way. Plants all this time sought to become thinner and more transparent, and the animal world, on the contrary, became thicker and became opaque. While plants regularly receive the necessary portion of food from the sun, being in the same place, animals and people need more energetically rich food, as they constantly move and move.

Photosynthesis in animals: a mystery of nature.

However, if we compare the DNA of humans and plants, it becomes clear that they are not so different. This similarity originates from the time of the birth of the first life on Earth, and enables the animal to steal photosynthesis. To date, synthetic biology has advanced to a whole new level and the seemingly unrealizable, until now, idea of ​​creating skin areas capable of photosynthesis now does not seem so fantastic.

According to Pierce: "As a rule, if the gene of one organism enters the cell of another, then it does not work. But still it works and there is a chance in one moment to change a lot. This is a fast evolution

Seaweed DNA surprisingly gives slugs life.

In addition to sea slug, there is another example of the animal world that performs photosynthesis using algae - these are corals. Their cells contain the simplest unicellular dinoflagellates capable of photosynthesis and the spotted salamander, which uses algae to supply itself with solar energy.

Scientists seriously thought about the use of this ability in other animals and even humans.

That's just sea slug does not use intermediaries for photosynthesis. Having absorbed algal chloroplasts, the slug covers them with the digestive tract. Now semi-animal - half-growth can only feed on solar energy for a long time. But until now it was not known how the slug retains these stolen chloroplasts.

Sea slug. eating algae.

Now, Pierce and other scientists have found the answer. It turns out that the slug steals from algae not only chloroplasts, but also an important DNA code. It also helps the slug for a rather long time to produce photosynthesis, as it carries an enzyme that helps maintain chloroplasts.

Scheme of the photosynthesis process in the slug Elysia chlorotica.

Expropriation in nature is a rare occurrence, but scientists have been experimenting with it for a very long time. By mixing the genes of different organisms, they created many of the newest and unimaginable species and life forms: for example, corn, which produces its own pesticides, to protect itself from pests or plants that glow like neon or phosphor lamps in the dark. Given all this, it can be assumed that the decision to endow the animal world and even humans with the ability to use the sun as a source of nutrition, namely, to give the ability to photosynthesis, will not be so crazy.

Watch the video: Plant Cells: Crash Course Biology #6 (February 2020).

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