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Scientists Create 12-Headed Jellyfish (gene manipulation alert!)
Yahoo News ^ | August 1, 2007 | Charles Q. Choi

Posted on 08/03/2007 8:25:45 AM PDT by NYer

Jellyfish with up to a dozen heads have been created in the laboratory by carefully monkeying with a few genes.

The genetic experiments could shed light on how natural colonies of other multi-headed organisms first originated, including some that build coral reefs.

Researchers targeted so-called Cnox genes, which help control how the bodies of jellyfish are laid out as their embryos develop. These genes are closely related to Hox genes, which play a similar role in humans.

How they did it

They experimented on the European hydromedusa (Eleutheria dichotoma), collected from the south of France. (In Greek mythology, the Hydra was a monster with innumerable heads, while Medusa had writhing snakes for hair.)

The researchers designed RNA molecules that specifically only "silenced" Cnox genes in these saltwater critters. Normally, the saltiness of these animals would prevent the molecules from entering their cells, but the scientists diluted seawater with freshwater enough "where the jellyfish still survived and the RNA got in," said evolutionary biologist and invertebrate zoologist Bernd Schierwater at the Hanover University of Veterinary Medicine in Germany.

By inhibiting one Cnox gene called Cnox-3, two heads often formed, where both were completely functional—regarding food intake, for instance. By deactivating another, Cnox-2, more than two heads usually sprouted—"up to a dozen," Schierwater told LiveScience.

He and colleague Wolfgang Jakob, also at Hanover, detailed their findings in the Aug. 1 issue of the online journal PLoS ONE.

Twelve heads better than one?

Animals with many heads are rare in nature, suggesting that two or more heads usually aren't better than one—having more than one head results in costs with no immediate matching benefits.

However, Schierwater noted that corals, which are animals, often form colonies by adding heads to a common stalk, each of which connect to a common gut, just as with the modified jellyfish that the researchers created.

Jellyfish are related to the creatures that build coral reefs—they are both carnivores belonging to a group called cnidarians, which means "stinging nettles," because of their stingers. Schierwater conjectured the solitary ancestors of corals and other colonial organisms might have adapted genes related to multiple heads long ago "in such a way that animal colonies were able to emerge."

Indeed, these findings suggest the suppression of just a few genes could have led to incredible diversity in body plans "from the very beginning," Schierwater said, shedding light on "the evolution and development of animal life in general."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: geneticengineering; jellyfish; science

1 posted on 08/03/2007 8:25:47 AM PDT by NYer
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To: NYer
12-headed Jellyfish

Now there’s scientific progress.

2 posted on 08/03/2007 8:29:42 AM PDT by BenLurkin
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To: NYer

Jellyfish have heads? Who knew?


3 posted on 08/03/2007 8:31:29 AM PDT by CaptRon (Pedicaris alive or Raisuli dead)
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To: BenLurkin

Heck, if you get drunk enough and look through the bottom of a cut glass beer mug that guy sitting across the bar looks like a 12 headed jelly fish.

Don’t ask me how I know that.


4 posted on 08/03/2007 8:31:38 AM PDT by dblshot
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To: NYer

Looks like Spongebob will have to get a bigger net.


5 posted on 08/03/2007 8:32:44 AM PDT by reagan_fanatic (Stop that!)
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To: NYer

Just another example of just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.


6 posted on 08/03/2007 8:35:23 AM PDT by mtbopfuyn (I think the border is kind of an artificial barrier - San Antonio councilwoman Patti Radle)
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To: NYer
Done first on south park
7 posted on 08/03/2007 8:36:04 AM PDT by from occupied ga (Your most dangerous enemy is your own government, Benito Guilinni a short man in search of a balcony)
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To: BenLurkin

“12-headed Jellyfish

Now there’s scientific progress.”

Much harder will be trying to grow a spine in Republican politicians. Though, since they are also jellyfish, imagine them with twelve heads.


8 posted on 08/03/2007 8:36:22 AM PDT by FastCoyote
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To: mtbopfuyn

My reply was going to be WHY?


9 posted on 08/03/2007 8:36:43 AM PDT by VaRepublican (I would propagate tag lines but I don't know how...)
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To: VaRepublican

“by carefully monkeying with a few genes” What!?


10 posted on 08/03/2007 8:37:38 AM PDT by VaRepublican (I would propagate tag lines but I don't know how...)
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To: FastCoyote

Indeed.

Check this out: http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1875824/posts


11 posted on 08/03/2007 8:37:41 AM PDT by BenLurkin
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To: NYer
12-headed jellyfish? Yawn. Ping me when they make a ...

FOUR-ASSED MONKEY!

12 posted on 08/03/2007 8:38:24 AM PDT by ReignOfError (`)
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To: from occupied ga

Dangit, you beat me by |-—————| that much.


13 posted on 08/03/2007 8:39:54 AM PDT by ReignOfError (`)
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To: NYer

14 posted on 08/03/2007 8:41:04 AM PDT by Red Badger (All I know about Minnesota, I learned from Garrison Keilor.............)
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To: VaRepublican

“by carefully monkeying with a few genes” What!?

Isn’t that what Dr. Moreau said?


15 posted on 08/03/2007 8:41:07 AM PDT by dblshot
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16 posted on 08/03/2007 8:42:55 AM PDT by wastedyears (Freedom is the right of all sentient beings - Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime)
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To: NYer

12 heads are better than one!


17 posted on 08/03/2007 8:43:42 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (A man who will not defend himself does not deserve to be defended by others.)
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To: NYer
Indeed, these findings suggest the suppression of just a few genes could have led to incredible diversity in body plans "from the very beginning,"

Weird, if you supress genes it screws things up? /sarc

18 posted on 08/03/2007 8:43:59 AM PDT by ljco
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To: VaRepublican

I would think they chose the jellyfish because it was genetically “simple,” and once the process is perfected, the process could be applied to something more complex and presumably more useful, like maybe replacing the faulty genes in a Down’s sydrome child in-vivo.

Or chopping out the gene that causes certain breast cancers.

Etc.


19 posted on 08/03/2007 8:44:18 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Fred Thompson)
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To: NYer

Eleuthe­ria with two heads (above; ar­rows point to heads) and sev­er­al heads (be­low)
20 posted on 08/03/2007 8:48:59 AM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: NYer
Fascinating stuff. I am a little perplexed at their contentions on how this sheds light on evolution of animals as the researchers claim. The article says "The researchers designed RNA molecules". Further, the description of the Hox and Cnox gene controls remind one of the check boxes on the tabs of Windows software. Are the scientists saying that the whole system was there "from the beginning"? If so, it is like they have just learned how to change screen savers and using it as evidence that Windows code wrote itself.
21 posted on 08/03/2007 8:50:47 AM PDT by Hail Spode
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To: MeanWestTexan

I dont know friend, If your making twelve heads now on a “simple genetic creature”, then it would seem we should already be curing cancer with “monkeying around with genes”. I am amazed at how it’s reported like it’s no big deal. Hey by the way gays getting married is normal and if your offended by it, why you are just backwards.


22 posted on 08/03/2007 8:51:09 AM PDT by VaRepublican (I would propagate tag lines but I don't know how...)
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To: NYer

re: 12-headed jellyfish

We already had this type of creature - it’s called the Senate Judiciary Committee

[ok, maybe that’s more like an 18-headed jellyfish or whatever the exact number of members may be]


23 posted on 08/03/2007 8:57:25 AM PDT by Enchante (Reid and Pelosi Defeatocrats: Surrender Now - Peace for Our Time!!)
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To: VaRepublican

I see no logical connection with being pleased with scientific progress and being pleased with gays getting married.

Indeed, if having the tendancy to have a homosexual perversion is genetic, as gays claim, this sort of experimentation would be the kind progress that would lead to a cure of homosexuals.


24 posted on 08/03/2007 9:05:35 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Fred Thompson)
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To: NYer

The PERFECT politician!!!


25 posted on 08/03/2007 9:06:43 AM PDT by ZULU (Non nobis, non nobis Domine, sed nomini tuo da gloriam. God, guts and guns made America great.)
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To: NYer

Does it also have 10 horns and 7 crowns?


26 posted on 08/03/2007 9:13:19 AM PDT by joebuck
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To: Red Badger

I give up ... what is that?


27 posted on 08/03/2007 9:16:51 AM PDT by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: Calpernia

Question ... does having more heads result in more stingers?


28 posted on 08/03/2007 9:17:43 AM PDT by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: NYer

This article said they shut down a gene to stimulate the other gene to grow. But they didn’t say which gene. Maybe it was the one for the stingers?

http://www.world-science.net/othernews/070801_hydra.htm


29 posted on 08/03/2007 9:28:32 AM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: BenLurkin

Yes, sir, when God said we didn’t have the heads for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, He was, as usual, right. We have not the brain power to know when to stop or in which direction to go. And this one is he ultimate proof.


30 posted on 08/03/2007 9:35:31 AM PDT by twonie (Keep your guns - and stockpile ammo.)
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To: MeanWestTexan

man your a pro!


31 posted on 08/03/2007 10:08:06 AM PDT by VaRepublican (I would propagate tag lines but I don't know how...)
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To: VaRepublican
My reply was going to be WHY?

Democrats want to increase their congressional candidate pool.

32 posted on 08/03/2007 10:30:44 AM PDT by Mad Dawg (Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.)
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To: NYer
However, Schierwater noted that corals, which are animals, often form colonies by adding heads to a common stalk, each of which connect to a common gut, just as with the modified jellyfish that the researchers created.

Are these really added 'heads' or are they just added 'mouths'.

Big difference.

33 posted on 08/03/2007 10:39:15 AM PDT by Dr._Joseph_Warren
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To: Hail Spode
They've found the code that regulates body plans. Been known for a little while, but the variety already present this early is relatively recent. Was an article about it in Nature (or Science) recently, made the cover. The big deal is that these critters predate the Cambrian explosion by about 100 million years. Meaning all the code for body type variety was there before that took off (nearly all existing body plans appear for the first time in the Cambrian explosion, in a relatively short space of time). We are getting close to understanding what actually happened then, and really led to most of the variety of life seen on earth. At a mechanism level, not a general hand waving principle.
34 posted on 08/03/2007 1:51:43 PM PDT by JasonC
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