Centipede's genome gives new insight into how life developed on Earth

 A new study has revealed that centipedes, genetically sequenced for the first time, have given new insight into how life developed on Earth.

IANS| Updated: Nov 26, 2014, 12:25 PM IST

Washington: A new study has revealed that centipedes, genetically sequenced for the first time, have given new insight into how life developed on Earth.

The researchers at Hebrew University of Jerusalem sequenced the genome of the centipede Strigamia maritima, because its primitive features can help people understand more complex arthropods, for this study.

According to researcher Ariel Chipman, the genetic data reveal how creatures transitioned from their original dwelling-place in the sea to living on land.

Chipman said that the use of different evolutionary solutions to similar problems shows that myriapods, which include centipedes and millipedes, and insects adapted to dry land independently of each other, for example, comparing the centipede and insect genomes shows that they independently evolved different solutions to the same problem shared by all land-dwelling creatures that of living in dry air.

According to Chipman, the study found that despite being closely related to insects, the centipede lacks the olfactory gene family used by insects to smell the air, and thus developed its own air-sniffing ability by expanding other gene families not present in insects.

In addition, Chipman said that this specific group of centipedes live underground and have lost their eyes, together with almost all vision genes and genes involved in the body's internal clock.

Chipman added that they maintain enhanced sensory capabilities enabling them to recognize their environment and capture prey.

The study is published in the journal PLoS Biology.