Coastwide
The giant squid has long been a subject of horror lore. In this original illustration from Jules Verne's '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,' a giant squid grasps a helpless sailor. Credit: Alphonse de Neuville

The mysterious, legendary giant squid's genome is revealed

How did the monstrous giant squid—reaching school-bus size, with eyes as big as dinner plates and tentacles that can snatch prey 10 yards away—get so scarily big?

Today, important clues about the anatomy and evolution of the mysterious giant squid (Architeuthis dux) are revealed through publication of its full genome sequence by a University of Copenhagen-led team that includes scientist Caroline Albertin of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), Woods Hole.

Giant squid are rarely sighted and have never been caught and kept alive, meaning their biology (even how they reproduce) is still largely a mystery. The genome sequence can provide important insight.

"In terms of their genes, we found the giant squid look a lot like other animals. This means we can study these truly bizarre animals to learn more about ourselves," says Albertin, who in 2015 led the team that sequenced the first genome of a cephalopod (the group that includes squid, octopus, cuttlefish, and nautilus).

Read the full story here.