This Leech is a Gene Thief!

“Elysia Chlorotica” is doing photosynthesis by stealing photosynthesis genes in algae consumed as leech nutrients

In the latest research by Rumpho and his colleagues, they have sequenced the chloroplast-related genes of Vaucheria Litorea (leech’s favorite food).┬áThus, we have also shown that the genes necessary for all of photosynthesis genes with algal chloroplasts can not be obtained.

Researchers who turn their attention to leech into their DNA from now on are discovered one of the key algae genes. Since the sequence of this gene is the same as the one in the perception, the leech gains the possibility that this gene is derived from its own nutrient.

Rumpho says:
“We still can not explain how the kleptoplasty is happening, we can only make an assumption in this matter.”

One of the possibilities is that the algae are taken through a process in the intestines of the leech and taken to the cells together with the chloroplasts. Later, these genes allow the leech to work with its own DNA, enabling the animal to produce the necessary proteins.

Another possibility is that a virus that is contained in the leech can carry DNA from algea cells to leech cells. But Rumpho says they have not found any evidence in this direction yet

Another surprising development is that researchers also find this alg gene in Elysia Chlorotica’s sex cells, that is, genes that are required to drive chloroplasts can be transferred to later generations. Researchers believe that Elysia Chlorotica is getting more and more photosynthesis genes through food, but it is still not clear how these plant genes are activated in sea leeches cells…


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