Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

In Science Advances, an international team led by investigators in Germany and the US describe cephalopod microRNAs that appear to contribute to cognitive features in the octopus species Octopus vulgaris and other coleoid, or soft-bodied, cephalopod species. Based on messenger RNA and small RNA sequences in 18 O. vulgaris tissues and in two other coleoid cephalopod species — the octopus O. bimaculoides and bobtail squid Euprymna scolopes — the team tracked down 43 gene families not found by sequencing a non-coleoid Nautilus species from a sister cephalopod group. A subset of nearly three dozen expanded miRNA families turned up in the Octopus species alone, the authors explain, noting that the miRNA set expansions tended to include miRNA families expressed during cephalopod development and in the animals' neuronal tissue types. "With respect to the development of the nervous system, we note that at least in vertebrates, miRNAs are known to have highly complex expression patterns with, for example, miRNA transcripts localized to the synapse and modulating their function," they suggest. "Although it remains to be seen whether these types of pathways operate in coleoids, the notable explosion of the miRNA gene repertoire in coleoid cephalopods may indicate that miRNAs and, perhaps, their specialized neuronal functions are deeply linked and possibly required for the emergence of complex brains in animals."

The Scan

Study Follows Consequences of Early Confirmatory Trials for Accelerated Approval Indications

Time to traditional approval or withdrawal was shorter when confirmatory trials started prior to accelerated approval, though overall regulatory outcomes remained similar, a JAMA study finds.

Sequencing Study Leads to Vaccine Target in Bacteria Behind Neonatal Meningitis

Researchers eBioMedicine track down potential vaccine targets with transposon sequencing on mutant bacteria causing neonatal meningitis in mouse models of the disease.

Multiple Myeloma Progression Influenced by Immune Microenvironment Expression

Researchers in NPJ Genomic Medicine compare RNA sequencing profiles of 102,207 individual cells in bone marrow samples from 18 individuals with rapid or non-progressing multiple myeloma.

Self-Reported Hearing Loss in Older Adults Begins Very Early in Life, Study Says

A JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery study says polygenic risk scores associated with hearing loss in older adults is also associated with hearing decline in younger groups.