March 27, 2024

Researchers have discovered additional eyes in a common spider in Israel

Researchers, including a scientist from Hebrew University, have discovered two additional pairs of degenerate eyes in a common spider species in Israel, known as the horned longleg. This finding, published in Current Biology, challenges previous understanding of arthropod eye evolution. Led by Dr. Guilhermi Giant and Dr. Efrat Gabish-Regev, the study analyzed RNA sequences of spider embryos, revealing the presence of these previously unknown degenerate eyes. This discovery highlights the significance of degenerated organs in understanding organism evolution. The horned longlegs belong to the arachnid class, and their study provides insights into the genetic mechanisms underlying eye development and loss in arachnids. Previously, it was believed that modern arthropods had a single pair of eyes, but this study shows that horned longlegs express two additional pairs of degenerate eyes during embryonic development, challenging previous assumptions about arthropod eye evolution.

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