via Futurism

Modern science is getting closer and closer to fiction. Humans have developed technologies and methods that allow us to modify the most intrinsic and basic aspects of nature to the point where we can basically create new forms of life.

Recently a group of scientists modified the DNA of several creatures known as daddy long legs of the species ‘Phalangium opilio’. The objective of the research was to study the genome of this type of arachnid, which until now had been little studied despite its kinship with spiders.

To achieve this, the researchers sequenced the DNA of the specimens and investigated the genetic basis for the development of one of the most significant characteristics of this animal, a set of very elongated legs.


Scientists Develop Genetically-Modified Arachnid

via Massachusetts Conservation

Using recently developed innovative technological techniques known as RNA Interference, the scientists succeeded in making the genetic modifications and thus identified the function of three specific genes.

Their next step was to directly eliminate these genes and in doing so they immediately began to perceive mutations, among which the most striking was that they decreased the length of six of the eight legs of the animal.

“The genome of the daddy long legs holds great potential to clarify the complex history of arachnid genome evolution and body plan, as well as to reveal how daddy long legs make their unique long legs,” said lead author Guilherme Gainett.

The results of his study were published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.Scientists have been very enthusiastic about the results that this research gave them because with it they demonstrated the ability to modify the genetic genome of a species and obtain different results.

Their goal is to continue applying these techniques and start testing with other parts of the organism of this species and perhaps even in the future apply the same technology to other life forms.