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Gene might help sponges see

Scientists provide a glimpse at how simple multicellular organisms handle light

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9:03am, March 23, 2012

Some larval sponges search for a shady place to settle down, but they don’t have optic nerves or the genes that are important for vision in most animals. Now biologists have new insight into how sponges might see light.

Larvae of the sponge Amphimedon queenslandica have unique eyes made up of cells that contain pigment, a chemical that absorbs certain wavelengths of light, and cilia, which look like tiny hairs.  Right next to these pigmented cells are cells with high levels of activated cry2, a gene that makes light-sensitive proteins, Todd Oakley of the University of California, Santa Barbara and others report in the April

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