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.”

September 2018

The Muscle Issue

The dynamic tissue reveals its secrets

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

StemExpress LeukopakâNow Available in Frozen Format

StemExpress LeukopakâNow Available in Frozen Format

StemExpress, a Folsom, California based leading supplier of human biospecimens, announces the release of frozen Peripheral Blood Leukopaks. Leukopaks provide an enriched source of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with low granulocyte and red blood cells that can be used in a variety of downstream cell-based applications.

New Antifade Mounting Media from Vector Laboratories Enhances Immunofluorescence Applications

New Antifade Mounting Media from Vector Laboratories Enhances Immunofluorescence Applications

Vector Laboratories, a leader in the development and manufacture of labeling and detection reagents for biomedical research, introduces VECTASHIELD® Vibrance™ – antifade mounting media that delivers significant improvements to the immunofluorescence workflow.

Best Practices for Sample Preparation and Lipid Extraction from Various Samples

Best Practices for Sample Preparation and Lipid Extraction from Various Samples

Download this white paper from Bertin Technologies to learn how to extract and analyze lipid samples from various models!

Bio-Rad Launches CHT Ceramic Hydroxyapatite XT Media and Nuvia HP-Q Resin for Process Protein Purification

Bio-Rad Launches CHT Ceramic Hydroxyapatite XT Media and Nuvia HP-Q Resin for Process Protein Purification

Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb), a global leader of life science research and clinical diagnostic products, today announced the launch of two new chromatography media for process protein purification: CHT Ceramic Hydroxyapatite XT Media and Nuvia HP-Q Resin.