KAUST Environmental Epigenetics Program (KEEP) Seminar: Understanding the role of DNA methylation in corals

Nov 25 2019 11:00 AM - Nov 25 2019 12:00 PM

  • Associate Professor of Marine Science, Red Sea Research Center, KAUST

Abstract: Over the last century, the anthropogenic production of CO2 has led to warmer and more acidic oceans, resulting in increasingly frequent and severe mass bleaching events worldwide. Unless corals adapt or acclimate to these unprecedentedly fast changes, further loss of coral cover and diversity seems inevitable over the coming decades. However, the mechanisms and rates by which corals can acclimatize and adapt to environmental changes are still poorly understood.

Work on model systems has shown that environmentally induced alterations in DNA methylation can lead to phenotypic acclimatization. While DNA methylation has been observed in corals, its potential role in phenotypic plasticity and acclimation has not yet been described.

Here, Prof. Aranda provides an overview of our current knowledge on DNA methylation in corals and discuss its potential as an epigenetic mechanism for regulating phenotypic acclimation and transgenerational plasticity in these organisms.