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Coral Evolution in Action Image 2
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Coral Evolution in Action (Image 2)

November 24, 2010
A patch reef in Truk lagoon, Micronesia. This reef is one of the most threatened, both by climate and human activities.

With ocean temperatures and acidity levels increasing more every year, coral reefs are rapidly declining. Mikhail Matz, a biologist at the University of Texas at Austin, is monitoring this process at the genomic level. Matz, an expert on coral DNA, says that corals have a substantial potential to evolve and he will watch this process very closely using next-generation gene sequencing devices to study the coral's genetic makeup.

In 2009, using the "next-gen" sequencers at UT-Austin, Matz and his team sequenced the entire transcriptome of the common Pacific coral--one of the first successful full-transcriptome sequences for a non-model organism. To learn more about this research, see the UT-Austin news story, "Catching Evolution in Action." [Image 2 of 3 related images. See Image 3.] (Date of Image: November 2009)