The first comparative genome study between two corals reveals significant evolutionary differences. These findings could help scientists understand the resilience of corals and how they might respond to climate change.
Reef-building corals diverged into two genetically distinct groups, called the robust clade and the complex clade, at least 240 million years ago. Until now, the only complex coral genome available has been for the complex coral Acropora digitifera. An international team, led by Christian Voolstra and Manuel Aranda from KAUST, sequenced the genome of the robust coral Stylophora pistillata and then compared it with the existing Acropora genome.
"Before we began sequencing, we had to develop a method to obtain Stylophora DNA that was not contaminated by DNA from the coral's symbiotic algae," says Aranda. "We removed the symbionts by isolating the coral nuclei before extracting the DNA."
Corals exhibit high levels of genetic variation within the same species. This makes it even more difficult to stitch the genome together from the fragmented pieces of DNA.
"Once you have sequenced your genome, you must pick out and label each individual gene," says Voolstra. "It's like trying to read a book with no spaces between the words!"
Once they had the complete genome, the researchers searched for proteins and genes conserved across the two corals. Genes that matched one-to-one across both species tended to be those that control the basic necessities for staying alive. Where the corals differed, however, was in areas like immunity and specific symbiotic relationships.
"If one coral has one copy of a gene while the other has many, it implies that selective, evolutionary forces have come into play, such as building immunity to a specific pathogen," says Aranda. "On the other hand, where the corals have selected to live with different symbiotic algae and bacteria, completely different genes and proteins are expanded by each coral."
Their results indicate that Stylophora and Acropora are surprisingly genetically disparate. It remains to be seen whether all corals in one clade follow similar genetic patterns or simply that the team happened to pick out two species that are wildly different. Further clarification will be sought through a larger-scale project called Reef Future Genomics (ReFuGe 2020), which will sequence an additional eight coral genomes by 2020.
"Rather beautifully, with the completion of the Stylophora pistillata genome, we now have the genome for an entire coral holobiont--the coral, the symbiont and its associated bacteria," says Voolstra.
Carolyn Unck | EurekAlert!
NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation
Pollen taxi for bacteria
18.07.2018 | Technische Universität München
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
18.07.2018 | Life Sciences
18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine