Marine organisms use previously unknown receptors to detect light

According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, single-celled organisms in the open

oceans use a diverse set of genetic tools to detect and respond to light, even in tiny amounts.

In the ocean, all different organisms havethis cycle is day-night. They are very consistent with each other, even as they move. How do they know it's day? How will they know when night has come? This is what we wanted to find out.

Sasha Kuzel, lead author of the study

Although ocean microbes are invisible to the human eye, they support all marine life. Knowing the inner workings of these communities can show how they will live in the changing ocean environment.

Just like rainforests generateoxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, underwater organisms do the same in the world's oceans. These unicellular organisms are about as important as rainforests to the functioning of our planet.

A team of scientists collected samples every four hoursday and night for four days in the North Pacific Ocean near Hawaii. The researchers used trackers to track currents about 15 meters below the surface so that samples were taken from the same body of water.

While the sun rises, these organisms gain energy and increase in size, and at night, when ultraviolet light damages their DNA less, the mechanism of cell division starts.

Analyzing RNA filtered from samplescollected during the day and night, researchers have identified four main groups of photoreceptors, many of which are new.

The discovery of these new genetic switcheslight ”will help in the field of optogenetics, i.e. will allow scientists to control cell functions through exposure to light. According to the researchers, modern optogenetic instruments are created by humans, but natural versions may be more sensitive or better at detecting light of a particular wavelength.

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