Japanese, U.S. universities decode octopus genome


A team of researchers from a Japanese university and two U.S. universities have sequenced and analyzed the genome of an octopus species, according to their article on Thursday’s edition of the British journal Nature.

The three universities are Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, the University of Chicago and the University of California, Berkeley. The subject of the research was the California two-spot octopus.

Their findings have shed light on the evolutionary process of cephalopods, a class of mollusks including octopuses and squids, and are expected to give an insight into octopuses’ high intelligence and ability to change skin color, according to the team.

The genome of the octopus studied has about 2.7 billion base pairs and about 33,600 protein-coding genes, compared with fewer than 25,000 genes in humans.

The team also found hundreds of genes unique to cephalopods in the creature’s brain, skin and suckers.