Blog
May 03

Reef fish inherit tolerance to warming oceans

( from ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies )

Thanks to mom & dad, baby reef fish may have what it takes to adjust to hotter oceans.

In a rapidly changing climate, the decline of animal populations is a very real concern. Today, an international team of researchers report new evidence of reef fish adjusting to global warming conditions at the genetic level.

For the first time, researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) and the King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST), have found that reef fish can inherit from their parents the genetic tools to adjust to ocean warming.

“When parents are exposed to an increase in water temperature, we found that their offspring improved their performance in these otherwise stressful conditions by selectively modifying their epigenome,” said senior author Prof Philip Munday of Coral CoE at James Cook University.

Epigenetic change refers to chemical modifications in the DNA that signals genes to be switched on or off. A range of factors, including disease, famine, or in the case of this research, heat stress, can stimulate these subtle changes.

In this study, when both parent and offspring experienced the same elevated water temperatures, responsive changes in their epigenome, via selective DNA methylation, were observed that enhanced the next generation’s ability to cope with the new, warmer temperatures.

read more @:  https://www.coralcoe.org.au/media-releases/reef-fish-inherit-tolerance-to-warming-oceans