Green sea slugs use plant genes to live on sunlightThe creature, which makes its own chlorophyll, incorporates algae genes into its system and retains chloroplasts for photosynthesis. The finding may have uses in genetic engineering and therapies.January 16, 2010|By Amina KhanPart animal, part plant! This may sound like a tabloid headline, but scientists say that a green sea slug has managed to incorporate enough algae parts to easily live off of sunlight, just as a plant does.Scientists already knew that a few slugs could eat algae but save the algae's chloroplasts from digestion and feed off of their energy. Chloroplasts are where the photosynthesis process of turning light into energy occurs.But this was not a self-sustaining system, since most slugs cannot make their own chlorophyll, a green pigment that fuels the chloroplasts. To get more chlorophyll, the slugs would have to eat more algae.The green sea slug, however, can make its own chlorophyll.
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