Klepto-what? Kleptoplast!Posted: November 28, 2008
New Scientist has a report describing a species of sea-slug that is able to incorporate the chloroplasts from algae it eats. The end result is an animal capable of photosynthesis.
Chloroplasts by themselves are not self-sufficient; they do contain some DNA, but only enough to encode for about a tenth of the proteins needed for their ongoing survival. So where does the rest of the genetic info come from once the chloroplast has been ingested by the slug?
Well, it appears that the slug itself contains plant genes. These genes, happily, are the very ones necessary for sustaining functional chloroplasts.