It is difficult to say when the life of a person or any other animal will end. However, since female octopus it’s quite a bit easier. Once they mate, their end is near. wait lay eggs and almost immediately after that, a terrible process begins in which skin and tentacles torn off bite By the time their little octopuses come out into the light, they are already dead. This is something that has attracted the attention of scientists for many years, because it is not known why and how they do it. However, a group of researchers from University of Chicago Perhaps I have an answer to the second question.
And that is exactly what, according to a study that has just been published in Current biologyThe key is in cholesterol metabolism. We usually talk about this substance in connection with food and its effects on health. But the truth is that it is connected in many processes. In fact, it is necessary for our survival (as well as for octopuses), but always at an adequate level and with a metabolism that adjusts to certain limits. Otherwise, hazardous substances may be formed in the process or the consequences are as harmful as suicide. female octopuses.
Moreover, all this seems to be connected with a little-known organ of these cephalopods: optic gland. This would be almost equivalent to our pituitary, but after mating, it has a dangerous effect on female octopuses. Let’s see how they came to this conclusion.
Behind the suicide of female octopuses
optic gland was discovered in 1977. It was then seen to be involved in several processes such as sexual development and aginglike octopus and squid. But what most attracted the attention of scientists who began to study it was that if the females were removed, they did not have a tendency to commit suicide after mating.
To find out why, a study was launched in 2018 based on RNA sequencing of two female octopuses at different stages of extinction. But why did they sequence RNA instead of DNA? Mainly because they didn’t want to know what genes they had, but what genes they use.
All animal cells have the same DNA. However, Each of them I will use the genes you need, which may also vary depending on the circumstances. This is what is known as gene expression.
Behind wear these genes should code convert to protein. However, the organelles responsible for this, called ribosomes, cannot read the information in DNA. They can only read RNA, so DNA sequences must be expressed transcribed into RNA.
Therefore, if we sequence RNA, we will have information about the genes that using in certain cells at certain times. In this case, they were cells. optic gland of a female octopus. They found that as death approached, the activity of genes that control sex hormones, insulin-like hormones, and cholesterol metabolism increased.
This was the first stage of the investigation. Now, however, some of these scholars have gone even further, focusing directly on molecules secreted in each case.
Role of cholesterol
Man knows that some cholesterol precursors They are toxic at high levels. For this reason, there are certain genetic disorders associated with an increase in cholesterol metabolism, which can cause a wide variety of symptoms due to the accumulation of these substances. Among them are repetitive self-harm.
So when these scientists saw in the study the role Metabolism of cholesterol in the optic gland of a female octopus they knew they might be close to solving the mystery of their self-destruction.
It remained only to observe the change in the molecules secreted by these animals at different stages. This was the latest step in the study that has just been published, and allows us to see that, indeed, after mating, they increase. secretion of sex hormones, insulin-like hormones, and cholesterol precursors. Those precursors that are so toxic to humans.
Until now, the optic gland has only been associated with the sexual signaling pathways, but this detail has not been known. The mystery has cleared up a little more, although the main question remains to be answered: why female octopus self-destructs after laying eggs? Perhaps some people (hopefully not many) think that they have already fulfilled their function as females. But octopuses are very smart animals. Surely there will be another explanation. Now it’s time to try to find out.
Source: Hiper Textual