FunNature & AnimalThey sequence the genome of the algae that cause...

They sequence the genome of the algae that cause the

marea-rojaResearchers at the Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek (United States) havesequenced the genome of Aureococcus anophagefferens, a species of algae whose massive proliferation alters the ecosystem in which it inhabits. The work is published in the magazineProcedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Thebeganplay an important role incarbon cycleglobally, helping to sequester significant amounts of this element. However, some species can reproduce until they become so numerous that they stain coastal waters brown or reddish and drastically reduce the amount of light and oxygen available in the ecosystem. The phenomenon, known as“red tide”, is produced, among other species, by Aureococcus anophagefferens.

The new research reveals that the algae genome has56 million base pairs, and was sequenced from a sample collected from the shores of Long Island in New York (United States), one of the areas most affected by microalgae since its first appearance 25 years ago on the east coast of the United States. Among other things, scientists have found that this photosynthetic species is well adapted to low levels of light and can survive long periods in the dark. The genomic study revealed thatAureococcus had 62 genes to capture light while its competitors had an average of two dozenof these genes.

“For decades scientists have tried to understand why this species proliferates so much, how it is able to dominate when there are so many competing for the same water space ?, explains Don Anderson, researcher at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.” With genomic data we are finally obtaining the answers, “he adds.

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