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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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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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