Gut Evolution

Just passing through

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Science  02 Sep 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6303, pp. 1001
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6303.1001-a

Comb jellies have through-guts.

PHOTO: ANDREY NEKRASOV/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Our understanding of how guts evolved has included a long-held misconception. Despite reports dating back to the 1800s of a gut with more than one opening in metazoans (jellies and comb jellies), textbooks often present this group as having a sac-like gut with only one opening. Presnell et al. housed two species of comb jellies under laboratory conditions and captured high-resolution images of their feeding and excretion. Their detailed imaging revealed that comb jellies do not excrete through the mouth but rather through multiple anal pores, confirming that they do indeed possess a through-gut. These results suggest that our understanding of gut evolution may require a rethink.

Curr. Biol. 10.1016/j.cub.2016.08.019 (2016).

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