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RNA Editing in Octopuses Seems to Help Acclimation to Shifts in Water Temperature

Octopuses use RNA editing to alter protein function to adapt to changes in temperature, a new study in Cell reports. Researchers from the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., and elsewhere had six California two-spot octopuses (Octopus bimaculoides) — which harbor a large number of RNA editing sites — acclimate to warm water and six acclimate to cool water. Following this, they extracted RNA from their stellate ganglia for analysis. Octopuses in the cooler water, they found, underwent more RNA editing, as more than 13,000 codons were affected in the cold-water octopuses, as compared to 550 sites in the warm-water octopuses. Among the genes whose expression were affected by this "recoding," as the researchers describe it, were ones involved in neural functions, including, for instance, kinesin-1 and synaptotagmin. "We're used to thinking all living things are preprogrammed from birth with a certain set of instructions," senior author Joshua Rosenthal from MBL says in a statement. "The idea the environment can influence that genetic information, as we've shown in cephalopods, is a new concept."

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.