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Anemones rely on epigenetics during symbiosis

Anemones rely on epigenetics during symbiosis

Anemones rely on epigenetics during symbiosis

Anemones use epigenetic mechanisms to regulate the expression of genes involved in their symbiosis with photosynthetic algae, according to new research from KAUST. The same mechanisms may help them respond to environmental stress and could be harnessed to improve the resilience of anemones and corals to the challenges posed by climate change. A team at KAUST have sequenced anemone genomes using a technique that detects DNA methylation, a chemical tag attached to DNA that affects gene expression without altering the genetic sequence. They found that nearly 40 percent of anemone genes were methylated and that the methylation level of a gene correlated with its expression level. Read more >>> Read more

Keeping up with sea-level rise

Keeping up with sea-level rise

Keeping up with sea-level rise

Soil accumulation in coastal ecosystems could mitigate rising sea levels around the Arabian Peninsula, according to new research from KAUST. However, this mitigation will require efforts to preserve and restore these ecosystems. Human-driven climate change is raising sea levels around the world at increasing rates, threatening hundreds of millions of people living in coastal areas. Researchers at KAUSTs Red Sea Research Center worked with colleagues at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals to determine whether this increase could be mitigated by soil accretion in coastal ecosystems. Read more >>> Read more

Mysterious gentle giants gather off Saudi coast

Mysterious gentle giants gather off Saudi coast

Mysterious gentle giants gather off Saudi coast

The availability of tiny prey near a coral reef in the eastern Red Sea seems not to be the reason that whale sharks aggregate there every spring. In recent years, juvenile whale sharks have been discovered gathering at a coral reef, 4 kilometers off the coast of Saudi Arabia between February and May. This provides the opportunity for scientists at KAUSTs Red Sea Research Center to study their behaviors. Whale sharks are under threat from targeted fisheries and as bycatch and are listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List, says Ph.D. student Aya Hozumi. However, we have limited understanding of their ecology and life history, which poses a challenge to conservation efforts. Read more >>> Read more
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