Researchers from Japan and Germany have been studying why jellyfish can swim, unlike corals and sea anemones which belong to the same scientific family. They say they’ve found the answer contained in fewer than 100 genes.
Jellyfish are anchored to the seafloor as polyps when they are in an early stage of their life cycle. Corals and sea anemones remain in this stationary state, while jellyfish develop into another stage called medusa and eventually swim off.
The researchers believe the 97 genes are responsible for making the jellyfish the swimming creature as we know it, by forming the necessary muscles and eyes.The group says it also found that the genetic compositions of the two types of jellyfish are as different as those of humans and sea urchins, and that the moon jellyfish is closer to corals and sea anemones.