Having found a mechanism with which animals, like plants, are carried out photosynthesis, scientists thought about the possibility of transferring a person to full provision of solar energy.
Imagine that it would be if people like plants could eat directly solar energy. It would definitely facilitate our life: countless hours spent on the purchase, cooking and eating food could be spent on something else. Excessively exploited agricultural land would be returned to natural ecosystems. Levels of hunger, malnutrition and diseases spread through the digestive tract would have fallen sharply.
However, people and plants have no hundreds of millions of years have no common ancestor. Our biology is radically different in almost all aspects, so it may seem that there is no way to design a person so that it can carry out photosynthesis. Or is it still possible?
Some specialists in synthetic biology are carefully studying this problem, which even tried to create their own herbradish vegetables. And although we are still far from creating a person capable of photosynthesis, as a result of a new study, an intriguing biological mechanism was discovered, which may contribute to the development of this emerging field of science.
Elysia chlorotica — Animal capable of carrying out photosynthesis like plants
Recently, representatives of the marine biological laboratory, located in the American village of Woods Hall, reported that scientists have solved the secret of Elysia Chlorotica — a diamond-green sea slope, which looks like a leaf of the plant, feeds on the sun, like a sheet, but actually animals. It turns out that Elysia Chlorotica supports such a bright color, using algae and picking themselves their genes providing photosynthesis. This is the only known specimen of a multicellular organism, assigning a DNA of another organism.
In its statement, the collaborator, the honorable professor of South Florida University of Sydney K. Pierce said:
As for solar energy, it can be said that people have moved a billion in the wrong evolutionary direction. As the plants became subtle and transparent, the animals became thick and light-tight. Plants get their small, but constant share of solar juice, while remaining in one place, but people like to move, and for this they need a rich food energy.
If you look at the cells and the genetic code of a person and a plant, it turns out that we are not so different. This striking similarity of life on its fundamental levels allows such unusual things as theft of photosynthesis animals. Today, thanks to the developing area of synthetic biology, we may have to reproduce such phenomena for one evolutionary moment, thanks to which the biopank idea about creating photosynthetic areas of the skin seems less than fantastic.
By the letter of the pierce,
Sea slippers are not the only animals capable of carrying out photosynthesis through symbiotic relationships. Other classical examples of such creatures are corals, in the cells of which photosynthetic dinoflagellates are stored, as well as the Salamandra spotted, using algae to supply their embryos solar energy.
However, sea slips differ from such animals by the fact that they found a way to exclude intermediaries and perform photosynthesis only for themselves, absorbing chloroplasts from algae and covering them the walls of their digestive tract. After that, the hybrid of the animal and plants can live for months, eating only sunlight. But still a mystery remained, how exactly slugs support their stolen solar factory.
Now Pierce and other studies have found an answer to this question. It seems that slugs not only steal chloroplasts in algae, but also steal important DNA codes. The article published in The Biological Bulletin journal is to maintain the operation of solar cars for a long time after eating algae slugs can help the gene, which encodes the enzyme used to repair chloroplasts.
In nature, genetic expropriation can be a rare phenomenon, but in laboratories, scientists experiment with it for many years. Transferring genes from one body to another, people created a lot of new forms of life: from corn producing their own pesticides, to luminous plants. Taking into account all this, is it insanely the assumption that we should follow the example of nature and put the animals — or even people — the ability to photosynthesis?
Biologist, designer and writer Christina Agapakis, who received a doctoral degree in the field of synthetic biology at Harvard, spent a lot of time thinking over how to create a new symbiosis in which animal cells would be able to photosynthesize. According to Agapakis, billions of years ago, the ancestors of plants have absorbed chloroplasts who were free-live bacteria.
As Agapakis told, the problem of creating a nutrient body of the body is that to absorb a sufficient amount of sunlight, a surface with a very large area is necessary. With the help of leaves, plants can be absorbed by a huge, relative to their size, the amount of energy. The fleshy people, with their surface ratio and volume, most likely do not have the necessary bandwidth.
«If you are interested, can you gain the ability to photosynthesize, I will answer that, first of all, you will have to completely stop moving, and secondly become completely transparent»
In fact, the ELYSIA Chlorotica is fed by the sunlight may be an exception that confirms the rule. The slug began to look and behave so much like a sheet, which largely became a plant than animals.
But even if a person cannot exist only at the expense of the sun, who said he could not add his diet to a small solar snack from time to time? In fact, most animals capable of photosynthesis, including several Elysia Chlorotica relatives, rely not only to the energy of the Sun. They use their photosynthetic mechanism as a backup generator in case of food shortage. Thus, the ability to photosynthesize is an insurance against hunger.
Perhaps a person could find a completely new application of photosynthesis. For example, according to Agapakis
In the near future, a person will not be able to completely move to providing only sunlight — at least until it decides to the cardinal modifications of the body — therefore, while we still have to continue to be inspired by an example of nature.
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