Daddy Short Legs

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Are daddy long-leg spiders less scary when their legs are shorter? Nope! Here is proof.

A group of scientists mapped the entire genome for harvestmen spiders, better known as daddy longlegs. They then replicated the sequence but changed the genes that were responsible for growing the legs long. Instead, the genes grew the legs short.

“Our purpose was not just to shorten their legs just for the sake of it,” lead author Guilherme Gainett, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told Live Science. “We wanted to understand more about how these fascinating creatures evolved their alien way of locomotion and body plan.”

The mutated spiders died before they reached adulthood. The researchers said that they learned a lot about the 400 million-year-old species and hope to use this research to study the spiders’ fangs next.

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