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27 November 2013 12:59 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The new head of the National Center for Science Education promises to "fight the good fight" against attacks on...
Analyses of the H7N9 strains isolated from four new cases show that the virus is evolving rapidly, heightening anxiety...
In 2009, Jack Szostak shared a Nobel Prize for his part in discovering the role of telomeres, the end bits of...
Science has exposed a thriving academic black market in China involving shady agencies, corrupt scientists, and...
Paper-selling agencies flourish in the aura of reputable businesses. For some scientists, it may be difficult to tell...
Data collected by satellites and floating probes have chronicled a 2-decade rise in the temperature and thickness of a...
Cholesterol, the artery-clogging molecule that contributes to cardiovascular disease, has another nasty trick up its...
Until recently, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) kept its plans for its $70 million portion of the...
- 27 November 2013 12:59 pm , Vol. 342 , #6162
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ScienceShot: Coral Genome Reveals Tiny Helper
24 July 2011 1:00 pm
The first full sequencing of a coral genome has revealed that corals originated much earlier than previously thought, and at least one important species is far more fragile than environmentalists had feared. Today, scientists from Japan's Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology announced that they've sequenced the genome of Acropora digitifera, a spindly reef-building coral that populates much of the Indo-Pacific oceans. Researchers identified 23,688 protein-coding genes. Comparing the coral's genome with its cnidarian relatives—jellyfish, sea anemones, and hydras—they found that corals emerged some 500 million years ago, which is 250 million years earlier than their earliest known fossil records. The researchers also discovered that A. digitifera lacks the enzymes necessary to produce an essential amino acid, cysteine. That means the coral likely relies on microscopic symbiotic organisms called dinoflagellates to biosynthesize cysteine for it, making the coral particularly susceptible to changing climate conditions that endanger its tiny helpers.
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