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Writing June 27, 2014 in the journal Science, a team of researchers led by Michael Sussman of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Harold Zakon of the University of Texas at Austin and Manoj Samanta of the Systemix Institute in Redmond, Washington identifies the regulatory molecules involved in the genetic and developmental pathways that electric fish have used to convert a simple muscle into an organ capable of generating a potent electrical field.
The work establishes the genetic basis for the electric organ, an anatomical feature found only in fish and that evolved independently half a dozen times in environments ranging from the flooded forests of the Amazon to murky marine environments.
"These fish have converted a muscle to an electric organ," explains Sussman, a professor of biochemistry and director of the UW-Madison Biotechnology Center, who first undertook the exploration of the electric organ almost a decade ago. The study published in Science provides evidence to support the idea that the six electric fish lineages, all of which evolved independently, used essentially the same genes and developmental and cellular pathways to make an electric organ, needed for defense, predation, navigation and communication.
originally posted by: Fylgje
I read this earlier but thanks for posting it here. All animals(Insects) who can create light or electricity have always fascinated me. I remember the first time I watched on TeeVee about creatures in the deep ocean emitting light.....it just blew me away! I still pause and watch lightning bugs(fire flies) and think about how strange, yet beautiful, they are.
I also watched some vids on electric eels and they showed one kill an alligator. Another dropped a full-grown man like he had stuck his finger in a light socket. Again, electricity and light being made by living creatures is a fascinating thing here on earth! S&F