From the depths of the deepest horrors of the darkest minds of science fiction comes news of killer spiders and dank scorpions that are doing hideous, TWISTED things with…with…it’s almost too painful to say this…but I push on…with….THEIR OWN BODIES!
Worst, these dank darlings that go creep in the night are messing with their very DNA to do things with things that are almost too despicable to talk about (but I will anyway, because this is your freaking lulz of the day).
Apparently, brave scientists who could manage to ponder such darkness, such revolting twisted realities, delved deep into the mysterious DNA of spiders and scorpions and discovered a secret that is almost too painful, too shameful to reveal.
Spiders and scorpions have, somewhere in their evolutionary journey, opted to take leg DNA, yes, THEIR OWN LEG DNA, and manipulate it in a way to create non-segmented heads! Can you believe the sickness that these creepy crawly things must have within them to create faces, yes, FACES, from freaking legs?! Sick. Really sick.
But alas, it’s also true. This ain’t some press release from the government, so you know it must be true.
|Spiders and scorpions have co-opted leg genes to build their heads|
In a new study published March 26, 2018 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers Emily Setton and Prashant Sharma show that the common house spider and its arachnid relatives have dispensed with a gene involved in creating segmented heads, instead recycling leg genes to accomplish the task.
“We study spiders, scorpions and others to help build a more complete evolutionary story and look at what’s going on in the complex world of arthropods,” says Setton, who was an undergraduate majoring in anthropology and biology when she completed the work as one of just two study authors. “The world is a great, big place full of amazing diversity. We want to know, how does this happen? How do you build an animal?”
Sharma, professor of integrative biology, came to UW-Madison from the American Museum of Natural History in 2015 and brought with him research on some of the creepiest, crawliest species on the planet, like venomous scorpions from Arizona, tarantulas from Colorado and enormous, blind sea spiders from Antarctica.
“We work with really difficult animals to study,” he says. “A big question of the lab is how is diversity built genetically, evolutionarily? How are ancient lineages related, and what are the genetic mechanisms that underlie the differences between them?”
For example, how can the same appendages – and the same sequences of genetic code – that make a lobster’s claws also make the mouthparts of a moth, the raptorial front legs of a praying mantis and the eye of a flatworm?