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Statement on Internet Reports Concerning our Latest Research Articles

Sea anemones are not half plants!

Unlike recent reports on the internet, sea anemones ARE true animals, NOT half animal, half plant. Our recent papers actually show that the first step of regulation of gene expression, the transcription from DNA into RNA, follows similarly complex principles as in vertebrates and insects. However, the regulation of the next step, from RNA to protein, by regulatory microRNAs, is much more reminiscent of that of plants than of other animals. It is likely that this different mode of regulation was inherited from a common ancestor of plants and animals, yet drastically modified in the majority of animal phyla, after the cnidarians have branched off some 600 Myr ago. This shows that different parts of gene expression regulation can evolve independently from each other, but does not make the sea anemones half plant. After all, all living organisms share a common ancestor, and just because we share a few genes with bacteria, does not make us half humans, half bacteria.

Links to our research articles:


Welcome to the Department of Molecular Evolution and Development at the University of Vienna



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The Faculty of Life Sciences

Center for Organismal Systems Biology

Prof. Ulrich Technau was the coordinator of the EU Project "EvoNet":

European Initial Training Network (EU-ITN): EVONET

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Prof. Dr. Ulrich Technau
Department für Molekulare Evolution und Entwicklung
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