Scientists from Fujian University of Agriculture and Forestry have discovered a gene in a snail that helps it to stay at extreme depths.
Living organisms from the deep-sea environment are forced to constantly be under high physical pressure, as well as adapt to low temperatures and an almost complete lack of light.
Fish and snails are the only animals that live at a depth of about 6,000 meters.
Chen, Shi and their colleagues have sequenced the entire genome of the Yap Hadal snail to understand how it adapted to life at such extreme depths.
Analysis of the new genome has shown that there are many adaptations for living in cold, dark, high-pressure environments. Snails have extra DNA repair genes that help keep the genome intact even under high pressure.
Also, this gene has five copies of an enzyme gene that, based on a compound from the intestine, stabilizes the structure of proteins under high hydrostatic pressure.
These new discoveries provide clues to the mechanisms by which snails evolved to survive in the ocean. However, the researchers note that further research will be required to confirm the functions of these genetic changes. In addition, the genome sequence can serve as a basis for future in-depth studies of snails and other animals from the Hadal zone.