Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The first genome of a coral reef fish

29.09.2016

A genome for the blacktail butterflyfish may illustrate how reef fish adapt to challenging conditions in the Red Sea.

Sequencing the genome of an organism allows scientists to investigate its unique genetic make-up, its evolutionary links to other creatures, and how it has adapted to its environment. Researchers at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia, have sequenced the first reef fish genome, the blacktail butterflyfish (Chaetodon austriacus), an iconic Red Sea species considered to be an ‘indicator’ species for coral health.


Researchers at KAUST have sequenced the genome of a coral reef fish from the Red Sea, the blacktail butterflyfish, for the first time.

Copyright : Tim Sheerman-Chase via Flickr

While genome sequences already exist for well-established model species such as the zebrafish, which is commonly used in medical research, there are no genomes publically available for natural populations of tropical reef fish. Michael Berumen, Joseph DiBattista, and a multidisciplinary team at KAUST, sought to fill this significant gap in fish genomic data.

“The blacktail butterflyfish has one of the most restricted ranges of any butterflyfish species, largely concentrated in the northern and central Red Sea,” explains DiBattista. “Therefore, it is likely to have developed unique genomic adaptations to this environment.”

Identifying these genetic mechanisms may also help predict how other marine organisms could adapt to challenging sea conditions in future.

The team faced a considerable task when it came to sequencing the new genome, partly because they had no reference genomes from closely-related fish to compare. They took portions of gill filaments from a wild butterflyfish and generated a mix of DNA fragments or ‘reads’.

“We then undertook a series of steps to figure out which reads connected with each other, and as a whole, how they overlapped,” explains Berumen. “Imagine trying to reconstruct a lengthy book from tiny segments consisting of a few hundred characters, each taken from a random part of that book. This very quickly becomes a computer science problem since it would be impossible to do it manually. Most fish genomes consist of around a billion base pairs, or a book with a billion characters in our analogy!”

Berumen sought the bioinformatics expertise of Manuel Aranda's group at KAUST’s Computational Bioscience Research Center. Once the team had assembled the genome, they analyzed it to ensure it made sense; for example, checking for the existence of genes previously identified in other organisms.

Their final, high-quality genome includes 28,926 protein-coding genes. The team hope their genome will enable studies on the co-evolution of reef fish species and comparisons of gene sequences between closely-related fish across the Indo-Pacific region.

The genome may also help stem trading in wild reef fish, because aquaculture specialists may eventually be able use the data to produce new, aquarium-tolerant species to fulfill the market demand for decorative fish.

Associated links

Journal information

DiBattista, J. D., Wang, X., Saenz-Agudelo, P., Piatek, M. J., Aranda, M. & Berumen, M. L. Draft genome of an iconic Red Sea reef fish, the blacktail butterflyfish (Chaetodon austriacus): current status and its characteristics. Molecular Ecology Resources early online (2016).

Michelle D'Antoni | Research SEA
Further information:
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>