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Octopuses Will Be Used as Future Lab Rats

On the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., there is a room crammed with burbling aquariums. A variety of them have lids weighed down with large rocks.

He is a part of a crew that is attempting to determine the perfect methods to lift these sea creatures in captivity so that scientists can examine their genes and study the secrets and techniques of their unique, nearly alien ways.

For many years, a lot of the fundamental analysis in biology has targeted only a few, nicely-studied model organisms like mice, fruit flies, worms, and zebrafish.

That is as a result of these critters are simple to maintain within the laboratory, and scientists have labored out tips on how to routinely alter their genes, resulting in every kind of insights into habits, ailments, and available therapies.

But it surely’s additionally meant that fundamental biology has ignored a lot of the animal kingdom, particularly its other unique denizens.

That is why he’s a part of the trouble to make squid and octopuses possible to check within the lab, so researchers can begin to discover their subtle brains and strange behaviors.

However, it’s a challenging endeavor. Nearly all octopuses aren’t social — they will assault one another — and should be stored in separate enclosures. What’s extra, cephalopods are very delicate to the chemistry of the water that surrounds them. Besides, they develop extraordinarily rapidly and meaning they want plenty of residing meals to gasoline that progress.

The MBL researchers have targeted on species from worldwide which are small, comparatively hardy and fast to breed. The pygmy zebra octopus, for instance, grows solely to the dimensions of grape and lays quite a few clutches of eggs via its life.

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