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Development Of A Biomarker System For SCTLD In Four Species Of Caribbean Corals

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Nikki Traylor-Knowles

Since 2014, Florida's Coral Reef has been dying at an unprecedented rate due to stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD). Biomarker development is a valuable tool for identifying genetic markers for the presence of a disease and baseline health. In the case of SCTLD, it is not known why certain species of coral are more susceptible to the disease than others, and it is also not known if there are genetic markers indicative of SCTLD. In this report, we described the transcriptomic outcomes of three different SCTLD transmission experiments performed at the Smithsonian and Mote Marine Labs between 2019 and 2020. Overall, we found that Montastrea cavernosa and Orbicella faveolata had a similar differential gene expression response to SCTLD, with controls grouping together, and diseased samples spreading out based on genotype. We also found that O. faveolata had 1128 differentially expressed genes (DEGs), whereas M. cavernosa had 61 DEGs. Lastly, we found that there were many unique and shared genes between O. faveolata and M. cavernosa that may be important biomarkers for SCTLD. We recommend that further studies be done on this transcriptomics of corals with SCLTD and in particular focus on the role of apoptosis in SCTLD progression.

Last Modified:
May 7, 2021 - 3:56pm

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