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Coral Evolution in Action (Image 1)

Natural fluorescence of <em>Acropora millepora</em> under dissecting microscope

Natural fluorescence of Acropora millepora under dissecting microscope, a rare morph with cyan-colored tentacles.

With ocean temperatures and acidity levels increasing more every year, coral reefs are rapidly declining. Mikhail Matz, a biologist at the University of Texas at Austin, is monitoring this process at the genomic level. Matz, an expert on coral DNA, says that corals have a substantial potential to evolve and he will watch this process very closely using next-generation gene sequencing devices to study the coral's genetic makeup.

In 2009, using the "next-gen" sequencers at UT-Austin, Matz and his team sequenced the entire transcriptome of the common Pacific coral--one of the first successful full-transcriptome sequences for a non-model organism. To learn more about this research, see the UT-Austin news story, "Catching Evolution in Action." [Image 1 of 3 related images. See Image 2.] (Date of Image: October 2004)

Credit: Mikhail V. Matz, University of Texas, Austin; Jörg Wiedenmann, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton

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