Home Science Scientists modified daddy longlegs into daddy shortlegs to access the DNA blueprint.

Scientists modified daddy longlegs into daddy shortlegs to access the DNA blueprint.

You may have been living under a rock if you haven’t seen a daddy longlegs while residing in the United Kingdom.

These animals, known as Opiliones or harvestmen, are not spiders, though they are closely related.

There aren’t many individuals who haven’t had the terrifying sensation of one of the gangly animals crashing through a bedroom window and landing on their heads.

Despite the fact that it is harmless to humans, the enormous pins dangling from its body are unsettling.

Scientists modified daddy longlegs into 'daddy shortlegs' to access the DNA blueprint.
image credits : Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Researchers believe their DNA may hold the key to answering some of these and other puzzles, such as why their legs are so lengthy.

According to CNET, scientists concluded that it would be worth their effort to try to transform daddy longlegs or harvestmen into daddy shortlegs through DNA modification.

The genome of Europe’s most common daddy longlegs, Phalangium opilio, was initially sequenced by researchers led by Guilherme Gainett of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Scientists modified daddy longlegs into 'daddy shortlegs' to access the DNA blueprint.

The genes linked with long, gangly legs were then effectively removed from hundreds of daddy longleg embryos using an RNA interference method.

Scientists modified daddy longlegs into 'daddy shortlegs' to access the DNA blueprint.

Six of the eight legs were shortened as a result of the procedure, although their look was more like that of pedipalps than legs.

Scientists modified daddy longlegs into 'daddy shortlegs' to access the DNA blueprint.

“The genome of the daddy long legs offers enormous promise to elucidate the complicated history of arachnid genome evolution and body design, as well as to disclose how daddy longlegs manufacture their distinctive long legs,” according to researcher Gainett.

Despite the fact that harvestmen have lived on Earth for about 400 million years and there are almost 6,500 species, scientists still have many concerns about them, including why they cluster together.

They also have pores that emit compounds that are intended to ward off predators, which, according to Ignacio Escalante, a harvestman biologist at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, may have a “sweet, gasoline scent.”

These daddy longlegs groom themselves with their jaws, just like cats.

According to the US Department of Energy, they do not make silk, have just one set of eyes, and are not poisonous.
Their lengthy legs do not grow back if they are damaged or pulled off by a predator.

Despite occurring on every continent except Antarctica, nothing is known about their reproductive cycles or whether they are predators or scavengers.

The majority of harvestmen utilize their longest legs to touch and wave about in search of food, while the other six are used to move and avoid predators.

Leg length has also been utilized for mating, according to Gainett, who told the Atlantic that “whichever male has the longest leg wins, and it’s the one who will mate.”

The findings of the study were published in a journal published by The Royal Society with the hopes of bettering our understanding of arachnids.

“In the future, we’re interested in figuring out how genes give birth to unique arachnid characteristics like spider fangs and scorpion pinchers, as well as using the genome to create the first transgenic harvestmen,” Gainett said.

Why Harvestmen aren’t actually spiders ?

Scientists modified daddy longlegs into 'daddy shortlegs' to access the DNA blueprint.
image credits : tipsclear

Harvestmen, often known as daddy long legs, have more in common with scorpions than with spiders.

Harvestmen, unlike spiders, do not have a constrictive region between their two body parts.

Their bodies are extensively connected, giving them the appearance of an oval body with legs protruding.

They have fangs, like spiders, but they don’t sting.

Harvestmen catch their food while it is still alive because spiders inject poison into their prey to help break it down.

Harvestmen, on the other hand, will scavenge anything that is already dead.

They are typically seen in groups.

Clusters, said to scientists, might make them appear larger to deter predators and perhaps provide warmth.

Harvestmen fight back by releasing a foul-smelling substance.

Let us know your opinions in the comments.

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