Menu

Deadly Wasting Syndrome Genetically Altered Sea Stars: Study

The surviving animals may have evolved genes that provided an advantage in fighting the disease.  

Jun 19, 2018
Sukanya Charuchandra

An ocher sea star with new growth from mid-arm after trauma.PNASSea star wasting syndrome, a disease that causes the arms of the animals to fall off and practically melt away, has wiped out approximately 81 percent of the ocher sea stars living on the coasts of north central California since 2013. This deadly plague left the sea star populations genetically changed, according to a study published yesterday (June 18) in PNAS.

Study coauthor Lauren Schiebelhut, a biologist at the University of California, Merced, and her colleagues wanted to investigate whether the survivors of the syndrome had a genetic advantage over their less fortunate counterparts, according to The New York Times.

To address this question, the researchers compared the genetic sequences of the adult sea stars before and after the outbreak. Their analysis revealed that some genetic sequences were more common in the sea stars that had survived the outbreak than in those from before the disease emerged.

Schiebelhut’s team also examined the genes of sea stars that were born during the outbreak and had moved into the open ocean, as is usual for the animals. These stars’ genes did not resemble those of previous generations—rather, they were genetically similar to the adult survivors. This was a surprise to the researchers: “We expected their gene pool to look very similar to the original adults,” Schiebelhut tells the Times.

The authors suspect the genes found only in the survivors may have provided a survival advantage. However, more work is required to determine the exact function of those genes. “I don’t have a good answer,” Schiebelhut tells the Times. “But that is in the works.”

April 2019

Will Car T Cells Smash Tumors?

New trials take the therapy beyond the blood

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Myth Busting: The Best Way to Use Pure Water in the Lab
Myth Busting: The Best Way to Use Pure Water in the Lab
Download this white paper from ELGA LabWater to learn about the role of pure water in the laboratory and the advantages of in-house water purification!
Shimadzu's New Nexera UHPLC Series with AI and IoT Enhancements Sets Industry Standard for Intelligence, Efficiency and Design
Shimadzu's New Nexera UHPLC Series with AI and IoT Enhancements Sets Industry Standard for Intelligence, Efficiency and Design
Shimadzu Corporation announces the release of the Nexera Ultra High-Performance Liquid Chromatograph series, incorporating artificial intelligence as Analytical Intelligence, allowing systems to detect and resolve issues automatically. The Nexera series makes lab management simple by integrating IoT and device networking, enabling users to easily review instrument status, optimize resource allocation, and achieve higher throughput.
IDT lowers genomic barriers with powerful rhAmpSeq™ targeted sequencing system
IDT lowers genomic barriers with powerful rhAmpSeq™ targeted sequencing system
Increasing accuracy and reducing cost barriers, IDT’s innovative system delivers simple and cost-effective amplicon sequencing
Bio-Rad Introduces Isotype-Specific Secondary Antibodies
Bio-Rad Introduces Isotype-Specific Secondary Antibodies
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb), a global leader of life science research and clinical diagnostic products, today announced the launch of its isotype-specific secondary antibodies. This new range of recombinant monoclonal antibodies, directed against the three main mouse isotypes: IgG1, IgG2a, and IgG2b, offer improved signal detection and specificity in imaging, ELISA, flow cytometry, and western blotting.