Barrier Reef coral genetically altered in hope of surviving climate change
The Australian government’s marine research agency is looking to genetically alter species of coral to help them cope with rising sea temperatures, as new modelling showed the coverage of living corals on the Great Barrier Reef could decline to less than 10% if warming continued.
While corals can adapt to different temperatures, it usually takes thousands of years before they can evolve within gradually changing climates.
Dr Madeleine van Oppen, a senior principal research scientist at Aims, told Guardian Australia: “We can create genetic diversity and new genetic variations, and then let natural selection pick and do the rest.”
“We are trying to accelerate the process of what happens in nature, to help them to cope better. This is theoretically possible.