Animal shown to manufacture a key photosynthetic compound
SEATTLE — It’s easy being green for a sea slug that has stolen enough genes to become the first animal shown to make chlorophyll like a plant.
Shaped like a leaf itself, the slug Elysia chlorotica already has a reputation for kidnapping the photosynthesizing organelles and some genes from algae. Now it turns out that the slug has acquired enough stolen goods to make an entire plant chemical-making pathway work inside an animal body, says Sidney K. Pierce of the University of South Florida in Tampa.
The slugs can manufacture the most co