"The genome of the sea- squirt was recently sequenced, revealing a cannabinoid receptor gene in an invertebrate for the first time. This means that these receptors were present in the common ancestor of the chordates, much further back on the evolutionary timescale than previously thought.
As Dr. Elphick will report on Thursday 1st April 2004 at the annual SEB meeting in Edinburgh [session A1.7], the sea-squirt cannabinoid receptor gene is expressed in tissues outside the nervous system, raising interesting questions about the functions of this evolutionarily conserved signalling system. "
Genomeweb Sea Squirt Genome Reveals Cannabinoid Receptor Older Than Believed
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"And no, this is not an April Fool's joke."
"Elphick's research focuses on the molecular biology and functions of the cannabinoid receptor. Previously, he has demonstrated that the cannabinoid system "is a fundamental signalling system in the central nervous system of vertebrates, where it plays a role in movement, pain, and learning and memory," according to SEB. "In invertebrates such as the sea-squirt, however, the system may have very different functions, perhaps indicating how and why the system evolved in the first place.""
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