Barrier Reef coral genetically altered in hope of surviving climate change | Environment


  • 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.

    #climat #corail #océan #Australie

    • First genetically engineered coral created to help save reefs from climate change

      Genetically engineered coral has been created by a team at America’s prestigious Stanford University, in a project they hope will serve as a “blueprint” for future coral conservation.

      For the first time, researchers were able to apply a unique tool called #CRISPR-Cas9 to edit coral genes.

      In the future they hope to identify genes involved in coral survival, especially those that help them tolerate the rising temperatures that have led to catastrophic reef “die-offs”.

      While scientists have emphasised that genetically enhanced “super-corals” are still a long way from becoming reality, this work is still thought to hold great promise for coral protection.