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Australian Researchers Sequence Coral Genome

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Australian researchers have sequenced the genome of the staghorn coral Acropora millepora, marking the first time an animal genome project has been carried out entirely in the country, they said in a statement this week.

The sequencing project was carried out by scientists from the Australian Genome Research Facility and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, which is based at James Cook University and includes the Australian National University, Monash University, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, and the University of Queensland.

The researchers used Illumina sequencing technology to sequence the 28 chromosomes of the coral.

"The Pacific coral, Acropora millepora, is already the best-characterised coral at the molecular level and has yielded important insights into the evolution of all animals," Eldon Ball, a professor in the research school of biology at the Australian National University, said in a statement. "The availability of the genome sequence will enable major advances in the understanding of many aspects of coral biology, including the responses of corals to climate change, ocean acidification, pollution, and disease."

The researchers said that the draft assembly of the coral genome is available to the scientific community "under specific conditions."

Sequencing of Acropora millepora comes around two years after scientists from the US and Australia reported that they had sequenced the transcriptome of the larval developmental stage of the coral using Roche 454 sequencing technology.

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