An Open Letter to Elysia chlorotica

by Amy Lindorff

Dear Elysia chlorotica,

Dude. How do you even do it? Are you magic? Are you an alien from an advanced world?

By “it,” I obviously mean being the first known species to participate in “horizontal gene transfer,” by which I mean you steal genes from the algae you eat and then are just like, “cool, I’ll just be here doing photoshythesis all on my own, as if, I dunno, maybe I was a plant and not just a sea slug.” You’re just hanging out, literally stealing genes from another species

Follow up questions:

  1. Can you show me how?
  2. Does it work on cats, do you think? Maybe I’ll be a snow leopard someday!