facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Genetics clues to survival of coral reef

Jan. 8, 2013 at 8:28 PM   |   Comments

PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 8 (UPI) -- A genetic process that lets some corals withstand high temperatures may hold a key to species survival for organisms around the world, U.S. researchers say.

The finding is important because coral reefs are crucial sources of fisheries, aquaculture and storm protection for about 1 billion people worldwide, Stanford University scientists said.

"If we can find populations most likely to resist climate change and map them, then we can protect them," study co-author Stephen Palumbi said in a university release Tuesday. "It's of paramount importance because climate change is coming."

The researchers studied shallow-reef corals off Ofu Island in American Samoa, using DNA sequencing technology to determine how they survive waters that often get hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit during summer-time low tides.

"These technologies are usually applied to human genome screens and medical diagnoses, but we're now able to apply them to the most pressing questions in coral biology, like which genes might help corals survive extreme heat," Stanford researcher Daniel Barshis said.

The findings suggest DNA sequencing can offer broad insights into the differences that may allow some organisms to persist longer amid future changes to global climate, the researchers said.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Wisconsin shuts down three wolf hunting zones, two remain open Wisconsin shuts down three wolf hunting zones, two remain open
2
Harvard scientist startled by giant bird-eating spider on rainforest walk Harvard scientist startled by giant bird-eating spider on rainforest walk
3
Earth's magnetic field may soon flip, according to new data Earth's magnetic field may soon flip, according to new data
4
Three Mars probes hide behind planet, avoid comet debris Three Mars probes hide behind planet, avoid comet debris
5
Japanese man who 3D printed guns sentenced to two years in prison Japanese man who 3D printed guns sentenced to two years in prison
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback