Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Gene Editing Could Save Coral Reefs

A recent report has shown that using CRISPR-Cas9 scientists have been modifying genes in corals.  The research has been taking place in Australia using the Great Barrier Reef.  A research group led by Phillip Cleves used CRISPR to change three genes in the early life of coral just after fertilization.  Two of the genes were responsible for coloring for red and green fluorescent proteins and the last gene is involved with regulating how coral grows and settles in a reef.  The research is difficult to conduct because the coral only spawn once or twice a year for a very short period of time.  Getting the timing right was important because changing the genes in an early stage will make it easier for them to see how their changes affected the corals.  Scientists are hoping that this research could eventually lead them to make corals more resilient to bleaching caused by pollution and climate change.  Another hope is that they could eventually use this technology on existing coral and not just use it in the embryonic stage.


  1. This article is very interesting because if scientists are able to time this correctly and perform modifications to genes in coral, perhaps we could help to preserve our existing coral reefs. Preservation of existing coral reefs could provide protection and food for those living there. Additionally, this could mean the creation of new coral reefs for said creatures. The aspect of color is pleasing because it could mean more scenery for those who like to snorkel and scuba.

  2. I think this article is very interesting as I recently took a class about the different technologies used for undersea research, and about the different issues relating to the ocean. In it I learned that one of the biggest problems the ocean is facing is the bleaching of the coral reefs, so research being conducted like the one being done in this article could be critically important for the future of our oceans, and even us ourselves.