Tracking down the genes that have helped the Great Barrier Reef survive • Earth.com

Tracking down the genes that have helped the Great Barrier Reef survive

12-04-2020


Today’s Video of the Day from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies describes the genomic analysis used by scientists to investigate how corals on the Great Barrier Reef have survived challenges over tens of thousands of years. 

“We sequenced the genomes of 150 individual colonies of the same species of corals and used this to find out which genes are important for survival in inshore reefs,” said study lead author Dr. Ira Cooke.

“Genomes are like a time capsule containing an enormous wealth of historical information,” said study co-author Professor David Miller.

“Generally, single genomes are really useful in coral studies, but hundreds of genomes for the same species are a goldmine of information.”

The researchers mapped the rise and fall of two coral populations on the Great Barrier Reef. They tracked which genes evolved to endure changing conditions and measured the flow of genes between locations.

The experts say the results are important for the current and future conservation of coral reefs.

Video Credit: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

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