5-speed listening (Octopus DNA - Level 5)

Octopuses and humans share intelligence gene






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It is common knowledge that dolphins are very smart. Scientists have found that octopuses also have "remarkable" intelligence. Italian marine biologists have revealed that octopi have an intelligence gene that is similar to the one in humans. The eight-tentacled creature has short sequences of DNA called "jumping genes". These make up 45 per cent of the human genome. The researchers said they are important for creating and storing memories in the brain. The DNA may give octopuses cognitive abilities like those humans have.

The research is important because it tells us how octopuses change their behaviour in response to different stimuli. This process is called "behavioural plasticity". A biologist said the research could help us understand more about human intelligence. He said: "The brain of the octopus has similar characteristics to mammal brains.…For this reason [the DNA is] a very interesting candidate to study to improve our knowledge of the evolution of intelligence." He says the brain structure of octopuses show they are more similar to mammals than marine invertebrates.

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