MBL scientists Joshua Rosenthal, who pioneered studies of RNA editing in cephalopods, and Caroline Albertin, an expert on cephalopod genomics, comment in this article.

Many writers grouse when an editor makes a change in a story, but the consequences of changing a single word usually aren’t that dire.

Not so with genetic instructions for making proteins. Even a small change can prevent a protein from doing its job properly, with possibly deadly consequences. Only occasionally is a change beneficial. It seems wisest to preserve genetic instructions as they are written. Unless you’re an octopus.

Octopuses are like aliens living among us — they do a lot of things differently from land animals, or even other sea creatures. Their flexible tentacles taste what they touch and have minds of their own. Octopuses’ eyes are color-blind, but their skin can detect light on its own (SN: 6/27/15, p. 10). They are masters of disguise, changing color and skin textures to blend into their surroundings or scare off rivals. And to a greater extent than most creatures, octopuses squirt the molecular equivalent of red ink over their genetic instructions with astounding abandon, like a copy editor run amok. Read rest of the story here.

Source: Octopuses and Squid are Masters of RNA Editing while Leaving DNA Intact | Science News