“Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.”
“You are what you eat.” We’ve all heard the saying. It doesn’t mean that if you eat a lot of chicken, you’ll literally become a chicken. But now science has discovered a creature for which the saying is literally true, in part, right down to the genetic level.
The green sea slug called Elysia chlorotica is more than just leaf-shaped. It eats algae and after a couple of weeks doesn’t need to eat for the rest of its year-long life. It actually photosynthesizes its own food by stealing the genes for photosynthesis from the algae it ate. However, geneticists knew that the genetic information it steals from the algae only gives it one-tenth of the DNA it needs to code for the proteins needed to continue to be able to photosynthesize.
In search of the answer to this mystery, scientists closely studied the slug’s DNA. They discovered that the missing genetic information was indeed to be found in the slug. What’s more, this information was identical to the algae’s genetic information. In other words, the slug steals all of the genetic information necessary for photosynthesis. Scientists are mystified as to how the slug accomplishes this wonder!
Of course, it’s no mystery when you know that the same Creator Who designed DNA also designed the sea slug who can selectively steal it.
Father, I thank You for all the wonders You have created, but the greatest wonder is Your love toward me. Amen.
www.newscientist.com/article/dn16124-solarpowered-sea-slug-harnesses-stolen-plant-genes.html, 11/24/08, Catherine Brahic, “Solar-powered sea slug harnesses stolen plant genes.” Photo: Elysia chlorotica green sea slug. Courtesy of Karen N. Pelletreau. (CC BY 4.0)