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Nature & Environment

Photosynthetic salamander discovered

By T.K. Randall
March 29, 2011 · Comment icon 10 comments



Image Credit: Patrick Coin
Photosynthetic algae have been found inside the cells of a vertebrate for the first time.
Although photosynthesis has been discovered in non-vertibrate organisms such as coral, it has never been found in vertebrates until it was discovered in the spotted salamander. From the time the eggs are deposited into shallow waters, photosynthetic cells work with the algae in the water to create a symbiotic relationship that continues as the animal grows and lives with algae in the cells all over its body.
Occasionally, researchers stumble across something extraordinary in a system that has been studied for decades. Ryan Kerney of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, did just that while looking closely at a clutch of emerald-green balls embryos of the spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum).


Source: Nature News | Comments (10)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by SV-001 12 years ago
This is amazing!
Comment icon #2 Posted by Rehabinum 12 years ago
I agree SV-001, that sure sounds amazing.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Swamptick 12 years ago
Absolutely incredible.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Cosmic2012 12 years ago
Wow! That is excellent. I have kept and propagated corals and knew of this type of relationship in inverts, but this is exciting news. When the scientific community learns something new it makes for a very good day!
Comment icon #5 Posted by KoasTheory 12 years ago
I: photosynthetic humans next please??
Comment icon #6 Posted by nakajima01 12 years ago
I: photosynthetic humans next please?? I'd rather have bulbasaur.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Ozner 12 years ago
I: photosynthetic humans next please?? A "green thumb" is only the beginning
Comment icon #8 Posted by Robbie333 12 years ago
Article on Nature While invertebrate species, like the Spotted Jellyfish, have been known to be symbiotically linked to photosynthesizing cells, this is the first example of a vertebrate with this ability. Once again us " know it all" humans get surprised by nature. Fantastic.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Ryu 12 years ago
Wow..that is really neat. So the symbiotic relationship continues long after the salamander is born. Makes me wonder then if this couldn't also be possibly true for dinosaurs as well? I mean, such a huge creature might benefit from such a cooperation. Maybe? Anyways..really neat to read.
Comment icon #10 Posted by J.B. 12 years ago
Photosynthetic humans. Now that we know vertebrates can do this, we have seen the first step to such a dream. It will be a while before we see it really happen, and I doubt the developed world will be the first testing ground. Photosynthesis takes the purpose out of wheat farming, or most of it anyway. Sugary snacks and grain based products would take a severe cut as our bodies got their energy from the sun. All modesty would be gone, naked sunbathing would be equivalent to eating. There was a sci-fi short story based on the idea of photosynthetic humans. It took place in Africa. There'd be le... [More]


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